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NORTHCUFFB 


ALL ABOUT OOT RAILWAYS 

Til-Bits Office, Burleigh Street, Strand: Carr & Co., 26 Paternoster 
Square, c. 1888. 

SEA nSHING: TARPON 

A. C. Harmsworth: The BaJmint0n Library of Sports and Pastimes, 
Longmans, Green, 1895. 

HARD TRUTHS FROM INDIA 

Alfred C. Harmsworth: Daily Mail Office, 1897. 

MOTORS AND MOTOR DRIVING 

Alfred C. Harmsworth: The Badminton Library of Sports and 
Pastimes, Longmans, Green, 1902. 

JOURNAUSM AS A PROFESSION 

Arthur Lawrcaicc, with a Cliapter entitled ‘The Making of a 
Newspaper’ by Alfred C. Harmsworth: Hodder & Stoughton, 
1903. 

AT THE WAR 

Lord Northcliffe: Hodder & Stoughton, 1916. George H. Doran, 
New York, 1916. (a la guerre) Librairie Payot & Cic., Paris, 
1917. 

LORD NORTHCLIFFE’s WAR BOOK: WITH CHAPTERS ON AMERICA AT WAR 

A. L. Burt, New York, 1917. 

THE RE-MAKINC OF IRELAND 

Lord Northcliffe: pnvately printed by Clement Shorter, London, 

1917* 

BEOWULF 

Translated by C. K. Scott-Moncrieff witli an Introduction by 
Viscount Northcliffe; Chapman & Hall, 1921. 

NEWSPAPERS AND THEIR MILUONAIRES 

Viscount Northcliffe: Associated Newspapers, 1922. 

MY JOURNEY ROUND THE WORLD 

Alfred, Viscount Northdiffe, edited by Cecil and St. John Harms- 
worth: John Lane, The Bodley Head, 1923. 

* * * 

III. BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS OF NORTHCLIFFE 
northcuffe; Britain's man op power 

'^JliainB. Carson: Dodge, NewYork, 1918. 

LORD NORTHCUFFE 

Andree VioUis: Librairie Bemud Grasset, Paris, 1919. 

LORD northcuffe: a memoir 

Max Pemberton; Hodder & Sfiaughttm, 1922. 

88S 



BmUOGRAPIlY 


THE REAL LORD NORTHCLIFFE: SOME PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS OF A 
PRIVATE SECRETARY, IpOR-lpM 

Louise Owen: Cassell, 1922. 
northcliffe’s return 

Hannen SwafTcr: Foreword by Lord Bcavcrbrook: Hutchinson, 

1925. 

the coming again of northcufee 

The Rev. J. W. Potter: The Society of Commumon, 1926. 

LORD NORTHCLIFFE: A STUDY 

R. Macnair Wilson: Ernest Bam, 1927. 

NORIHCUFFE: AN INTIMATE BIOGRAPHY 

Hamilton Fyfe: Macmillan, New York, and Allen & Unwin, 1930. 
NORTHCLIFFE; THE FACTS 

Louise Owen: Privately Printed and Published, 1931. 

MY NORTHCLIFFE DIARY 

Tom Clarke: Victor GoUanez, 1931. 

WITH NOBTHCUFFE IN FLEET STREET: A PERSONAL RECORD 
J. A. Hammerton: Hutchinson, 1932. 

NORTHCLIFTB IN HISTORY; AN INTIMATE STUDY OP PRISS POWER 

Tom Clarke: Hutchinson, ipjo* 

LORD NORTHCUFFB 

A. P. Ryan: Collins, 1933. 

NORTHCUFFB: THE NAPOLEON OF FLEET STREET 
Harry J, Grecnwall: Allan Wingate, 1957. 

* 

DICnONAKY OF NATTONAL BIOGRAPHY {ig22r-1930) 

Harmsworth, Alfred Charles William, Viscount Northcliffe: 
Biography contributed by Gcoflrey Dawson. 

ENCYCLOPAEDIA DRITANNICA 

Northcliffe, jUfred Charles William Harmswortli. Biography con- 
tributed by H. W. Wilson. 

* * * 

IV. THE NORTHCLIFFE PRESS 

THE RISE AND PROGRESS OF THB HARMSWORTH PUBLICAHONS 

F. A. McKenzie: Published byB. W. Young, 24 Tudor Street, i«97. 

THE ROMANCE OF THE AMALGAMATED PRESS 

Compiled by George Dilnot: Amalgamated Press, 1925- 

* 

THE ROMANCE OF THE ‘DAILY MAIL 
Alfred C. Harmsworth, 1903. 

889 



NORTHCUFFE 


THE RISE OP THE ‘DAILY MAIL* 

Lord NorthcIifFc, 1916. 

‘SCARE-MONGEIUNGS’ FROM TUB 'DAILY MAIL* 1896-1914 
Compiled by Tweils Btcx, c. 1915. 

THE ‘daily mail’ AND THE UBEBAL PRESS. A REPLY TO ‘SCAREMONGERINGS’ 
AND AN OPEN LETTER TO LORD MORTHCt^TE 
Reprinted from The Star, c. 1915. 

THE MYSTERY OF THE ‘DAILY MAH.’ 1896-1921 

F. A. McKenzie: Associated Newspapers, 1921. 

NEWS IN OUR itme: goldenjdbilebbookoft/ie ‘daily mail’ 1S96-1946 
Associated Newspapers, 1946. 
nFTY YEARS Of THE 'dAILY MAIL* 1896-1946 

G. Ward Pnee [MS, unpublished]. 

* 

THE ROMANCE OF THE ‘DAILY MIRROR* I903-I924 

Witli a Foreword by Lord Rothcrnicte. The Daily Mirror News- 
papers, Ltd. 

PUBUSIl AND BE DAMNEO! 

Hugh Cudlipp; Andrew Dakets Ltd., 1953, 

* 

THE HISTORY OF ‘thb TiMEs’— The i^oth Annivcnary and Beyond. 
1912-1948. 

Part I, Chapters I-Xfl, 1912-1920. 

Part II, Chapters XUI-XXIV, 1921-1948. 

Written and publislicd at The Office of The Times, Printing House 
Square, London, 1952. 


The files of Answers from 1888 to 1922, the Daily Mail from 1896 to 
igz2 and of The Times from is>0S to 1922, should also be studied. The 
files of the Newspaper Owner Qatec the Neivspapcr IVorlcf) also 
contain much valuable in/onnadon covering the period of Nordi- 
cliffe’s active life in Fleet Street. 

* * * 

V. JOURNAUSM 

STRANGE STREET 

Beverley Baxter; Hutchinson. 1935. 

A REBEL m FLEET STREET 

Comyns Beaumont; Hutchinson, is>44. 

POUnCIANS AND THE PRESS 

Lord Beavetbrook: Hutchinson, 1925. 

890 



SUSUOGRAPHY 


TIIE LITE AN 0 LETTERS OP C. F. MOBEELY RFH. 

By his daughter, E. H. C. Mobcrly Bell; Introduction by Sir 
Valentine Chirol; The Richards Press, 1917. 

R. D. B.’s DIARY 1887-1914 

R. D. Blumenfcld: Heincmann, 1930. 

R. D. B.’s PROCXSSION 

Ralph D. Blumenfeld; Ivor Nicholson & Watson, 1935. 

THE STORY OF ‘tHE TIMEs’ 

William Dodgson Bowman: Roudcdge, 1931. 

BRITISH NEWSPAPERS AND THEIR CONTROLtERS 
Viscount Camrose: Cassell, 1947. 

THE PRESS AND A CHANCING CIVIUZATION 

A. J. Cummings: John Lane, 1936. 

THE ADVENTURES OF A NEWSPAPER MAN 

Frank Dilnot: Smith, Elder, 1913. 

BEAVERBBOOK 

Tom Driberg: Weidenfcid & Nicolson, 1936. 

MASTERS OF ENGLISH JOURNAUSM 

T. H. S. Escott: T. Fisher Unwin, 1911. 

HE LAUGHED IN FLEET STREET 

Bernard Falk: Hutchinson, 1933. 
nVB YEARS DEAD 

Bernard Falk: Hutchinson, 1937. 

SIXTY YEARS OP FLEET STREET 

Hamilton Fyfe: W. H. Allen, 1949- 

J. L. GARVIN: A MEMOIR 

Katharine Garvin: Heincmann, 1948. 
adventures in JOURNALISM 

Philip Gibbs: Heincmann, 1923* 

NEWSPAPER LORDS IN BRITISH POUHCS 

C.J. Hambro: Macdonald, 1958. 1 

CHILD OP WONDER— AN INTIMATE BIOGRAPHY OF AHTHXra MEE 

Sir Jolin Hammerton: Hodder & Stoughton, 1946. 
c. P. SCOTT 

J. L. Flammond: G. Bell & Sons, 1934- 
in AND OUT OF FLEET STREET 

B. M. Hansard (Dedicated to Lord Notthcliffe): No publisher 
given, 1935. 

THE MAKING OF MODERN JOURNALISM 

Harold Herd: George Allen & Unwin, 1927- 

THE MARCH OF JOURNAUSM 

Harold Herd: George Allen & Unwin, I952- 
891 



NORTHCUTFE 


BRITISH JOURNALISTS AND NEWSPAPERS 

Derek Hudson: Collins, 1945* 

FLEET STREET AND DOWNING STREET 

Kennedy Jones; Hutchinson, ipip. 

FRONT EVERYWHERE 

J. M. N. Jeffries (Correspondent of die Dufly I9I4*I933)’ 

Hutdiinson, 1935. 

A UFE IN REUTERS 

Sir Roderick Jones: Hodder 6 c Stoughton, l95r- 

MOBERLY BELL AND HIS TIMES 

F. Harcourt Kitchin CBennei Copplcstonc’): Phihp Allan, 1925* 

MV LIFE STORY 

Arthur Lynch: John Long, 1924. 

BBAVERBROOK 

F. A, Mackenaic: Janolds, 1931. 

ADVENTiniES IN INTERVIEWING 

Isaac F. Marcosson: Joim Lane, The Bodley Head, 19^0. 

BBAVERBROOK 

Edgar Middleton; Stanley Paul, 1934. 

TKB TRUTH ABOUT A JOURNAUST 

Sydney A. Moseley: Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, 1935. 

NEWSPAPERS TODAY 

Alan Pitt Robbins; Oxford University Press. I9S<5. 

‘wb’ and me 

J. W. Robertson Scott: W. H. Allen, 1936, 

SnLT INK 

Wareham Smith: Ernest Bcnn, 1932. 

LIFE, JOURNAUSM AND POLITICS (2 Vols.) 

J. A. spender: Cassell, 1927. 

WITH THE DICTATORS OF FLEET STREET 
Russell Starmard: Hutchinson, 1934. 

THROUGH THIRTY YEARS 1 892-1922 (2 VoU.) 

Henry Wickham Steed; Heineirunn, 1924. 

ST. lOE STEACHEY— HIS LIFE AND HIS PAPER 

Amy Strachey: GoUanez, 1930. 

A TRAVELLER IN NEWS 

Sir William Beach Thomas: Chapman & Hall, 1925. 

GEOFFREY DAWSON AND OUR TIMES 

John Evelyn Wrench: Hutdiittson. 1955. 

* * * 

892 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 


VI. THE FIRST WORLD WAR 


POUTICIANS AND THE WAR I914-1916 
Lord Beaverbrook; 

Vol. I, Thornton Butterworth, 1928. 

Vol. II, The Lane Publications, 1932. 

MEN AND POWER 1917-I918 

Lord Beaverbrook: Hutchinson, 1956. 

THE MEMOIRS OF PRINCE MAX OF BADEN (2 vols.) 

Authorized Translation by W. M. Calder and C. W. H. Sutton: 
Constable, 1928. 

HELD-MARSHAL SIR HENRY WILSON — IDS UFE AND DIARIES 
Major-General Sir C. E. Callwell: Cassell, 1927* 


AT G.H.Q. 

Brigadier-General John Chartcris: Cassell, I93t- 
•THE WORLD CRISIS 1911-19*8 {6 vols.) 

Winston Churcliill: Thornton Butterworth. 1923-1931- 
who’s who in the BRinSII WAR MISSION TO THB UNITED STATES OF 
AMERICA, 1917— CHAIRMAN VISCOUNT NORTHCUFFB 

Published by Edward J. Clode, New York, 1917. 

HAIG 


Duff Cooper: Faber & Faber, 1935- 

BRITISH SECRET SERVICE DURING THE GREAT WAR 

pedicated to and a Foreword by Lord NortlicIifFe): Nicholas 
Everitt: Hutchinson, 1920. . . 

THE DIARY OP LORD BERTIE OP THAj^ 1914-1918 , 

Edited by Lady Algernon Gordon Lennox: Hodder & Stoughton, 
1924. 

THE FIFTH ARMY ^ r 

General Sir Hubert Gough: Header & Stoughton I93I. 

THE LETTERS AND FRIENDSHIPS OF SIR CECIL Bruton and 

Edited by Stephen Gwyim: Houghton IvMm Co., Boston and 
New York, and The Riverside Press Cainbndge, 1929. 

WAR MEMOIRS OF DAVID U.OYD GEORGE (o VO i.) 

Ivor Nicholson & Watson, I933"‘*93 • 

MY WAR MEMORIES 1914-19*8 (2 Vols.) 

General Ludendorff: Hutchinson, 1919- 
fall OF THE GERMAN EMPIRE I9I4-*9»8 (2 , , P^irpfl hv 

Oxford Univenity Press, I932. 

BRITISH WAR MISSIONS TO THE q-o 

Colonel W. G. Lyddon: Orford University Press, 1938. 


893 



NORTHCUFFE 


PERSONALirV AND DIPLOMACY m ANCLOAMEJUCAN EEIATIONS I917 

Stanley Morison— Reprinted from Essays presented to Sir Lewis 
Namier. 

THE HEST WORLD WAR 1914-I918 (2 vols.) 

Lieut.-Colonel C. ^ Court Rqjington: Constable, 1920 
LORD RIDDELLS WAR DIARY 19I4-I918 
Ivor Nicholson & Watson, 1933. 

LORD Riddell’s intimate diary of the peace conference and after 
1918-1923 

Victor Gollancz, 1933. 

THE INTIMATE PARERS OF COLONEL HOUSE (4 vols.) 

Charles Seymour: Ernest Benn, 1926-1928. 

AMERICAN diplomacy DURING THE WORLD WAR 

Charles Seymour: The Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 1934. 
UFE of HERBERT HENRY ASQUITH, LORD OXFORD AND ASQUITH (Vol, II) 

J. A. Spender and Cyrd Asquitli: Hutchinson, 1932. 

BRITISH PROPAGANDA AT HOME AND IN THE UNITED STATES FROM I914 
TO 1917 

James Duane Squires: Harvard University Press, 1935. 

SECRETS OF CREWE HOUSE 

Sir Campbell Stuart: Hbddcr & Stoughton, 1920. 

THE TIMES mSTORY AND ENCYOLOP^tDIA OF THE WAR 

Part 263, September 25. 1919— Briusli Missions in America. 

Part 270, December 30, 1919 — British Propaganda in Enemy 
Countries, 


Vn. GENERAL 

MY POUTTCAL UFE (Vol. II) 

L. S. Amery; Hutchinson, 1953. 

AFTER ALL 

Sir Norman AngcU; Hamish Hamilton, 1951. 

MEMORIES And REFLECTIONS I832-I927 (2 vols.) 

The Earl of Oxford and Asquith; Cassell, 1928. 

THE HOUSE IS SITTING 

Arthur Bader; Blandfotd Press, 1938. 

THE TRUMPET SHALL SOUND 

(Foreword by Hannai Swafiec): Maurice Barbanell: Rider & Co. 
1933- 

FREDERICK EDWIN, EARL OP BISKENIIIAD — ^TIIE LAST PHASE 

By his son Tlie Eatl of Birkenhead: Thornton Butterworth, 1935. 
THE inSTORY OF THE SYLVAN DEBATING CLUB 
T. Livingstone Bdly: The Hdd Press, 1931. 

894 



BIBUOGRAPHY 


THE UNKNOWN PRIME MINISTER — THE LIFE AND TIMES OP ANDREW 
SONAR LAW 1858-1923 

Robert Blake: Eyre & Spottiswoodc, 1935. 

PILGRIMS AND PIONEERS 

Sir Harry Brittain; Hutdiimon, 1946. 

5,000 MILES IN A BALLOON 

(With a contribution ‘Aerial Navigation as a Practical Possibility’ 
by Lord Northcliffe): Frank Hedges Butler: Horace Cox, 1907* 

AT THE SIGN OF THE WORLd’s END 

G. K. Chesterton: The Harvest Press, 1930. 

UFE OF LORD CARSON 

Ian Colvin: Gollancz, 1936. 

AS 1 KNEW THEM 

Ella Hepworth Dixon: Hutdiinson, i 930 ' 

AN ENGLISH WIFE IN BERLIN 

Anon: Dutton, New York, 1920- 
SOUTH AFRICAN MEMORHS 

Sir J. Percy Fitzpatrick. Prepared for the Press from the Manu- 
script of the Author by G. H. Wilson: Cassell, 1932. 

MEMOIRS (a vols.) 

Sir AJineric Fitztoy: Hutchinson, 1925* 

JUST AS IT HAPPENED 

Sir Newman Flower: Cassell, 1950. 

HEARTS AND POMEGRANATES 

Dame Katharine Fursc: Peter Davies, I 940 - 
ETON: AS SHE IS NOT 

J. Goodwin: Eton, R. Ingalton Drake, 11. d. 

AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY , 

Richard Burdon Haldane: Hodder & Stoughton, 1929. 

A SONG OF SPEED 

W. E. Henley: David Nutt, 1903. 

IN MY TIME 

Sisley Huddleston: Jonathan Cape, 1938- 
letters OP ARTHUR, LORD KILDRACKEN, G.C.B., AND GENERAL SIR 
ALEXANDER GODLEY, G.C.B., K.C.M.C., 1898-1932 
Cheltenham Press, n.d. 

POWERS AND pillars: intimate portraits of BRrnSH PERSONALITIES 
Rudolf Kirchcr (trails. Constance Vcscy): CoUin 
THINGS I KNOW ABOUT KINGS, CEtEBRmES AND CROOK 
William Lc Queux: Evclcigh Nasli & Grayson, n-d. 

TE.MPESTUOUS PETTICOAT 

Clare Leighton: Gollancz, 1948. 

S95 



nobtiicuffe 


MODERN MEN OF MARK 

Mrs Stuart Mciizics; Herbert Jenkins, 1921. 

THE MIRRORS OF DOWNING STREET 

A Gentleman with a Duster: Mills & Boon, 1920* 

MASTER AND BROTHER ,, w 

Licut.-Coloncl the Hon Arthur C. Murray; Jolut Murray, 1945- 
lord LANSDOWNE 

Lord Newton: Macmillan, 1929. 

TWO WORLDS FOR MEMORY 

Alfred Noyes: Shced & Ward, 1953. 

TEMPESTUOUS JOURNEY — ItOYD GEORGE: tllS LITE AND TIMES 
Frank Owen; Hutchinson, 1954- 

THB POMP OF POWER 

Anonymous; Hutchinson, 1922. 

UNCENSORED CELEBRJTtES 

B. T. Raymond: Fislicr Unwin, 1919. 

INSANITY FAIR 

Douglas Reed: Jonathan Cape, 1938. 

MORE PAGES FROM MY DIARY 1908-1914 

Lord RiddclU Covmtry Life, 1934. 

MEN AND memories: RECOUtCTIONS 1872-I9OO 
Sir William Rothenstcin: Faber & Faber, 193T. 

THE REAL LE QUEUX: THE OFHOAl BIOGRAPHY OP WILLIAM LB QUEU* 

N. St. Bathe Sladax; Nicholson & Watson, 1938. 

WEETMAN PEARSON, HRST VISCOUNT COWDRAY X85&-19^7 
J. A. Spender; Cassell, 1930. 

SIS ROBERT HXroSON— A MEMOIR 

J. A. spender: Cassell, 1930. 

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS ONCE 

Sir Campbell Stuart: Collins, 1952. 

THE WAY OF A COUNTRYMAN 

Sir William Beach Thomas: h^chael Joseph, I944- 
JOHN, LORD MONTAGU OP BEAULIEU 

Lady Troubridge and Archibald Marshall: Macmillan, 1930- 

EDGAR WALLACE: BY IDMSELP 

Hodder & Stou^ton, 1932. 

TRIAL AND ERROR 

Dr Weizmann: Haciish Hamilton, 1949. 

THE WORLD OF WILLIAM rr,IS«;0[,n 
H. G. Wells: £mest Benn, 192$. 

EXPERIMENT IN AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

H. G. Wells: Victor GoUanez and The Cresset Press, I934- 
896 



BIBIIOGRAPHY 


THE ROAD TO SATETY 

Sir Arthur Willert; Derek Vcrsdioylc, 1952. 

FROM QUEBEC TO PICCADILLY AND OTHER PLACES 
Beckles Willson: Jonathan Cape, 1929. 

THE HISTORY OP UNILEVER ^oL I) 

Charles Wilson: Cassell, 1954- 
doctor’s progress 

R. McNair Wilson: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1938. 

UPHILL 

John Evelyn Wrench: Ivor Nicholson & Watson, i934" 


VIII. NOVELS 

A NAPOLEON OP THE PRESS 

Marie Connor Leighton: Hodder & Stoughton, 1900. 
LORD LONDON— A ROMANCE OF TODAY 

Keble Howard: Chapman & Hall, I9*3* 

CAUBAN 

W. L. George: Methuen, 1920. 


IX. PLAYS 

THE WORLD 
J. B. Fagan. 

WHAT THE PUBLIC WANTS 
Arnold Bennett. 

HIGH TREASON 

Noel Pemberton Billing. 


X. PORTRAITS 

Allied aged twenty-nine, 

^^b?ed at *e Koyal Aeadenty, .894. I» toUeetton of Mt 
Al&ed Hamttwonh. o, KUTt^tn) 

TH, MAROnONB, OP Xmvotth, in hit eatly ddmet! 

'S^Xn. Itffc coUecdon of Viscount Rothermete. 
tn. tmuAA, roh^ibn. ^ [<„, anting the 

An to Oakhill Path (see 

artist s move from Church Kow, ^ 

A(e» end MmeUs. Faber it Faber, VoL a, p. 91. m2). 


897 



noutucuite 


PlUIiP DE LASZLO 

A portrait in oils of Northcliffc, 1911. The original painting is at 
New Carmelite House. There are copies at Printing House Square, 
Northcli/fe House and in die Parliament Buddings, Ottawa. 

SIR JOHN LAVERY, R.A. 

A portrait in oils of NorthcliHc, inpcoEIe, 1921. GeraJduic House. 
A smaller version is in the collection of Mrs Ivy Clark. 

A full lace portrait in oils by Sit John Lavery is in the Municipal 
Art Gallery, Dublin. 


XI. BUSTS 

A bronze plaque of Alfred Harniswortli, in profile, by Edith Bell, 1900, 
was regarded by ilic late Lord Hatmsworth as tlic best likeness at 
that time. There is a copy in tl\c National Portrait Gallery. 

A portrait bust of Northcltne by Courtenay Pollock, 1919. Northcliffc 
House. 

A portrait bust of Northcliffc by Lady Hilton Young, tesung on a 
plinth designed by Sic Edwin Lutyens, R,A., 1930. In tlie fore- 
court of St. Dunsun s-in-thc-West, Fleet Street. 

A portrait bust of Nortlicli/fe by Arthur G. Walker, A.R.A. Exhibited 
at die Royal Academy, 1930. 


XII. RBCORVINC 

A recording of NorthcUfFc’s voice was made by H.M.V. on April 28, 
1921. It is entitled: ‘Short Address by Viscount NortlichfFc. For 
die lunclicon at Olympia, on May 1, 192J, commemorating the 
Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of die founding of the Daily Mai!.’ 
For private distnburion only. 


898 



Index 


Asinger, Edward, 41 
Ackerman, J. C., 781 
Ackland, W. a. (T.T.), 4J2, 627 , 747 
Adam, George (r.T.), 691 
Advebtisinc — Northcliffe’s attitude to, S 7 . 
82, 214, 213, 239, 331, 366, 452, 490. 
628, 761, 776, 783, 791, 830. 847 
‘Ah Fong’— diaiacter invented by N., 61 
Aitken, Sir Max: see Beavhibbqok, lord 
Alcock and Brown’s Atlantic Bight, 733 
Aifonso, King — N's meeting with, 764 
Aitred Harmsworth Island— nam^ by 
N’s polar expedition, 163 
Aureo Harmsworth Memorial Fund, 71 
Auhusen, H., 309 

Auison.J.M. {T.T Advertising Maiuger). 

331.380, 419 

Amalgamates Press, 294, 428, 430 
Ameucanismj — N’ s dislike of, 347. d*®. ^>7 
Amery, L. S,— N. offers Press help during 
election, 400 

Amiois dispatch (1914). 4^ 

Aucai, Norman— Manager, ConiintMol 
Daily Mail, 290, 291, 326, 371. 47t. 393 
Ancung: see Fishing 
ANCLO-Newfoundland Development Com- 
pany, 276, 293, 363, 371, 381.384^ 39t. 
393 . 

Amwert [to Correspondents] — pubhcataoii 
planned by N., 72J: dummy copies at 
N’s wedding, 77; origin of orange- 
coloured cover, 78: outside contnbo- 
tors encouraged: printed on credit, 83; 
printing contract transferred, 84; com- 
petitions, puaales and other sales pro- 
motion kernes, Siff, 9 !j}i ^4*. *44. 
177: title abbrevutcd to Ansuvrii 
orange cover introduced, 83; copy 
bou^t by Duke of Connaught, 91; 
taken over from Carr and Company 
by Answers limited (later Answcis 
Publications Limited), 91, t48, 149, 
ofEcci transferred to Fleet Sctcet, tos, 
t8d; N’s ideas to boost circulation, 1I3. 

favourable comment by poUtidans, 138: 

'Free Breakfast Fund’ for children, 144J 
all-fiction supplement, r48; war-theme 
serials, 13 1 ; jubilee year celebrated, 4^: 
menu (1917) of Chicago dinner to N, 
design^ as, 386 


Answers Limited (later Answers Pubhea- 
n <in< Limited)— formed, 148#. sub- 
sidiary company (Geraldine Press), ijo, 
merged with Harmsworth Brothers 
Limited, 216 i 

Appleton. W. A. (G.F. of Trade Unions). 

Arcto expedition sponsored by N.. 162. 
Arnhc^ Henry— school fhend, later 

soliotor, 29, 104, 283, 333. 447. 533 
Att Journal, The, 44 , 

ART treasures, export of-bTs views on. 363, 

Arti^ Sit George— visits N., 464 
ASYr’Hom^E,— unsuccessful at Ports- 
mouth election, 184 
AsPi>EH, Hartley (A.P.). 13®, 37* 
f^unH, H. H.-N. meets (1896). aao. 

^ ®S>WnsofD..Vfrrepcrtonre^m«t 

front bar. 243: appeinmient of Kitchen- 
er 4d3; hit views of Ns letter suggest- 

0441 o WU ““k?' “ 
attitude to new Government. 491. 
mli N. regarded as arch-wrecker of 
Government, 3i4ir . , 

husband, 4971 N’s views on her auto- 
hiocraphy. 7*^ 

Asqt^ vUt-m mstmeuons on 
publicity of marriage. 710 
Assorted Newspapers Limited-formed 

AsToi.’wU^ Waldorf-propnewr. Pall 

208; bu)S The Obierycf 
from N.. 414: N’s miitrwt ofr ^4 

•AtiANnc’-code n^e for N., 334 

Allantk Daily 609 707 

AuaONioss. Gordon (U.Sw\.). t> 09 . 707 

S;a“Si£i.Ao.«4oop4»oo 

HO 

(TX). 767*^«lit &6ht by Unush 


901 



NORTHCUFfE 

pilot, 37j.— Cross Channel flight, 374. Beaveubrook. Lord (Max Aitken)— shares 
37j; — London-Manchester (DJIL in Rolls-Royce company; ‘One of the 

pnze), 301;— Model aeroplane compe- straighcest men in the country’ (N. 

tidon (DJVL), 301;— Northclifle’* in- 19I3)> 439'. f’DliVicww and the War 

tctesc in and promodoii of, 273, quoted, 472, 474, Ji4; efforts to bring 

340, 3S2ff. 363, 374, 375. 404. 4^0. <5*5. N. and Lloyd George together, J13J?, 

767, flight with Paulhan (1911), 420, expected presidency ofBoardofTxadc, 

chairman of Civil Aerial Ttanspwt 513; accepts peerage, 515, records 

Committee, 332; visits OrviDe W/igbc opposition to N's War Mission 

at Dayton, 387;— Round Qnt^ race, appointment, 330; alleged talk on N. 

420 Cabinet Office; Bcaverbrook 

appointed Mimstet of Information; 
Bacon, Sit Hickman. 617 suggesu N. be asked to take charge of 

Baden-Powhx, Sir Robert, 757, 833 propaganda against enemy countnes, 

Baiso, Major, 33a 613, N. refuses to wotkunder him, 614; 

Bakes, Arthur (art editor, D.Af), 61#, 7M correspondence with N. on latter’s 
Bakes, Sir J. — candidate at Portsmouth wish to resign, 6}i, 634; discusses 
election, r86 propaganda pohey with H G. Wells, 

Bakes, Sir S. (Sylvan Debating OubL 19, d+S, N's attitude to, tS49; N’s 

103 tnbiite to, 632, 633; N. writes him on 

Bakes, T. (DJW.), 362 leaflet-dropping aeroplanes, 656; and on 

Daiaclaya Heroes’ Fund. 113 retention by Bcaverbrook of inefficient 

Bauous, Viseounc—appteaaoon of firu men, 660; prints letter on Beaver- 

issue ofDJVL, :o2; congtamUtes N. on brook's tucccs; with Mmistiy of In- 

peerage, 295; wiites N. on polmcal formation; Beaverbtook describes N. 

situanon, Labour voce, 396; watches at ‘the foteinosc figure in joumahsm', 

Wilbur Wright's flying espenmenu at 661; states N. seeking office, 6dr. 

Pau (1909), 35*1 writes to N. about efforo to persuade Lloyd George to get 

Navy, 400: opens golf course at Sutton rid of ‘deadheads’, 681; concern for 

Place, 406; views on Dectaranon of N’sheaJth, 730; out of favour with N., 

London, 4tt; leader of Bnosh War 781; his pubhaty for Canadian army 

Mission to Amenca (1917). 52?/. praised. 794; N. jealous of his jouriiil- 

tnbure to N„ 339; congratulates N. on utio success, 83a 

interview with American President. Bedford, A. C. (U.S.A.). 5fi4. 794 
537; telegraphs N. on oil supplies. 363. Bee*. George (T.T.), 729. 747 
364: American opinion of. 390; sup- Beerbohm, Max. 223, 263 
ports N I plea for Iciflet-droppiog aero- Dirrow, Mayson (D.M), 233, 293; visits 
planes, 63 1 ; writes on N’s teugnauoa of Newfoundland, 383, 446 

propaganda post. 670 Bin, Charles Frederic Moberly (T-T.). 

BAtroua, lady Betty. 317. 31S 4jt. 433; writes on story of 

Barbees— effect of article in Ansurers, 517 Dowr rising, 249; negotiations wiffi N. 

Barekmt Mission— orgiiuaed by 77ie for purchase of T.T., Jiif, N's 

SwiJjy Canipaniaii, ijg attitude towards, 334j. 359. 360, 36t, 

Barezb. Ernest— views on Coalition Gov- 3(5(3. jyg. 380, jgiff, N. wntei to 

cnimeiit, 67® wkIow on death of husband. 412, 4*3: 

Barrie. Sit James, 744, 850 advises her not to seU T.T. shares. 735. 

Uastiett. Vcnicin, 793 

Baxter, Rev. M. {Chnslian fieraU). 158 Btu. Edward Puce [Chuago Daily News). 
Beattie, C. L (Asaoaatcd Newspapers), j4j 733 738 

603. 716 . 720. 838. 840 Ueuoc. Hilaire— denounces DM. ‘War 

IiEAUMONT, Andre— wins D.Af. aviatiou Scate’joumalisni, 364; N. reconimciids 

prize, 420 . luaj Tardicu, 483 

BEAUMONT. Alexander (and wife), 92, xoi, Bekham. Charles (D-M.). 794 

109, 111, 119, 123; financM Catr ajwJ Itowcrr, Arnold— edits Warnan, rap; 
Co.. 74. 12^ dispute with Haim»- characterizes N. in play, 362 

wonns.^ lipff, J33; purchase* Miss BomNCK, Lady Nora. 659 
Rowley $ shares. 133; quarrel with N., Dmesford, Lord Charlo, 232 
294: death, 444. N’s paymciits So. 446 Berun, Irvuig, 647 

902 



INDEX 


Bernstorif, Count— interviewed by DM. 

Berlin correspondent, 422J 
Berry, the Misses— N’s s^oolmistresses, 28 
Berry, Dr. J. (Royal Free Hospital), 730 
Berry, Wilham (later Lord Carnrose) — N’s 
first meeting with, 238 
Bicycies — C ycling press, ss^ (seealstnamts 
of journals)-, Dunlop tyre introduced, 
56; derided, 38; industry, 56ff, Norths 
cliffe: owns half-share m bicycles at 
■ school, 34; long rides, 3J; 218; women 
cyclists, 61 

Bicycling News (1876), 37J'’ 

Bicyclist, The (1873), 37 
Bigelow, Poulteney (U.S.A.), 74. 75 
Boiington, Miss M. F. (Dui/y Telegraph), 
260 

Bird hfe, NorthclifTe’i interest in, 336, 340, 
370, 418, 728, 730, 763, 798, 807. 814 
Birkenhead, Earl of (F. E. Smith)— counsel 
in Lever libel case; reladoos with N.. 
3®3i 304; N. wntes to about Gernuii 
dsnger, 3d6; action regarding T.T. 
Amiens ^spatch, 469; visits Amen^ 


Down, Maud (ed., Home Chat), 179 
BOTD, Frank (ed., The Pelican), 82 
BonJE, John Baxter— part owner of Youth, 
48; manager, iVestminster Gazelle, 167, 
207 

BayY Cb/nic Journal (Brett), 127 
BoyY Friend (Harmsworth pubhcation), i JO, 
166 , , , 

Boys' Home Journal (Harmsworth publica- 
tion). 160 

Boys’ UlustraSed News (Ingrams), 46 
Boys' Newspaper (Cassell, 1880), 46 
Braid. James (golf champion), 400 
Brain, E rnest (T.T.), 449 
Brand, Hon. R. H. (British War Mission), 

Brandeis. Mr Justice (U.S.A.), 628 
Brett. Edwin J. (St. Peters). 127 
Brevity— N's insistence on, iji, 200, 266J}, 
345, 524, 707, 708 

Brex. Twells^ontnbutions to D.Af. liked 
by N , 640: N’s kindness to, 752, 7345 
death, 762 _ 

Brisbane, Anhur (New York Journal), 333. 
395. 467. 776 


610; seeks talk about public a&irs with ... , 

pubuc.. 


Birrell, Augusdne, 42 
Black end IPhite— Harold penuades N. 
against purchase, 14? 

Buceburn, Dr A. £. (Baumemouth), 323 
Buoewood, William («d. Answers). 43*. 

Blake, Seson— chataetet in The Marvel, IJ* 
Blanch, J, M.— joins staffof Carr andCo., 
70 

Bland, John Parkinson (printer, T.T.), 
3*0. 435 

Blatchtord, Robert — tvrites for DM, 
^ 384,388,389 

Bleriot, Louis wins D.M. aviarion pnze, 

^ 375 

Blind — B raille edition of D.Af., 301; N s 
sympathy for, 735 

Blumenfeld, R. D., 143, 189, 249, 338: 
struck by N’s ‘Napoleonic gestures, 
227: tnbute to N., 249, *5* 

Bolton Pnory— N ’s home in Amenca 
during visit of British War Mission, 

Bonchib’ — S t. John Harmswotth’s nick- 
name at home, 229 

Borden, Sir Robert (Canada), 373. 379. 

„ 587. 646 . . 

Borntraeger, Carl— N ’s German relative, 
Tb *7.491 

Bottomley, Horado, 48, 492, 600 
Bourciuer, Rev. B., 787 
Bowateh, F., 486 


Qons. 241 

Brittain. Sir Harry. 3441 ongmator 
of Imperial Press Conference, 309 
Brown, Curtis, 31* j u . m 

•Brown. Leonard’-aame assumed by N. 

on visit to Germany, 839. SfiJ 
Brumweu. George Murray (T-T.). 449: 
first make-up editor, 3**1 N 1 mstme 
lions to cai reporting Austtm Chamber- 
lain. da?: N. describes him as Assoaate 
Editor. 869 

Brunnbauer, Joseph M** • *77r ^ 

Buchan, John— director of Foreign Office 

—wntes to N. about the improvement 
in T.T., 3*9: N’s plans for his w"’ 
Canada*^ 360: letters tf 


2 N.. 378. 381, 


^^\d-^ttacks N. in House 
ofLords. 343 

BUDD. Misses (school), a8, 29. 31.330 
BODCET, 1909-N’s attitude to. 376/ 
ButiER. Sir Redvers— command m b. 
Africa, 251 

ThniiTT W. C. (U.S.A.), 714 , 

W. F. (D.AL New York corres- 

BUR»R1I>0E, Sir W ., 479 



NORTHCUFFE 


Burgess. Gilbert (art cntic), 223, 23a 
Burnham, Lord, 447 
Burton, Claude E., 481 
Burton, Percy C. (N’s brother-in-law), 
3^1, 393. *80 

Burton, Pomeroy— staff of New York 
World, 266; oa N’s staff, 30a, 370, 407. 
432; invesogates D.Af. adverdsiDg 
posioon, 437; inquiring into |>topa- 
gandi in America, 330; work in 
America, 331; general manager, Asso- 
ciated Newspapen, 600; presses daim 
for honour, 609, 673; N's instructions 
to regarding Carmelite House, 747, 
views on N.'i health, 834 
Bussby, F. E. {DM.), 833 
BuTES, Alffed (secretary to N.), 302. 310. 
312, 314, 338: (manager T.T. Book 
Qub), doo 

Butler, Geoffrey— m America. 330. 383, 
6oi 

Butt, Dame Clara, 244 
Buxton, C. Roden— criticiim of T.T. war 
policy 463 


Cadorka, Gets. (Italy)— N's meeting with. 
504 

Cainb, Sir Hall, 243 

Caird, Sir Andrew— work on Cona'ntnsal 
Doily Moil, 290; N's opinion of, 
370; hu position at Carmelite House, 
407; vssiu Newfoundland with N,, 
44d: work in Affleiica, 381, <19; 
vice-diairman of Associated News- 
papers Ltd., 6od; knighted, do?; with- 
draws wm against N„ 874 
Cauenser, Vrofetsor T. W, (Queea’a 
University, Ontario), 623 
Cambbidce Umvetsicy — Hart^ founds 
English Literature Professorship, 397 
Campbell, Rev. R. J. (City Temple), 333 
Canada— N’s vine to, 336; street named 
after N. in MontieaL 418; atdtnde to 
honours, do8 

Cancer research— N's gift for, 439 
‘Canton’ — M obetly Bell's code suae, 
334 

Cape Mary Harmsworth — named by N’s 
Arctic expedition, ld2 
Capper,;. B, (T.T.), 428 
Car Illuslrated (Montagu), 237 
Carnegie, Andrew — named as possible 
proprietor of T.T., 30d; approves N’s 
statements in Germia mtervicTv, j 66 
Carr, DargavJle— busineas anansetoeat 
with N., shares lodging with N., 67; 
bad book-keeping, 92; opens Irish o ffim- 


o( Answers, nr; money difficuJcics, lit, 
124; director of Answers Ltd, 149 
Carr and Co.— business arrangement be- 
tween N. and Datgaville Carr; office 
in Paternoster Square, 67; staff", d7, 68; 
suggestion that N. provided £1.000 
capital not proven; acrivincs of com- 
pany, 68, dp; agency for other publica- 
tioiu; N. fights cousin in office, 69; 
staff change, 70; financed by Beau- 
monts, 74; uses sandwichmen to push' 
piffilkation, 73 
Carson (American), 233 
Carson (colleague of N. at Coventry), 63 
Carson, Sir Edward— <ounsel in Lever hbel 
ca^ 304. 303; and Dardenelles cam- 
paign, 487^^; relations with N., 499, 
393; congratulated by N. on appoint- 
ment as First Lord, 3id 
Carter, Hannah: see Wickens. Hannah 
Casemkit. Su Roger, 437 
CASSEU,John, 33, 54 
CosseWs Saturday Joumol, 32, 33 
CiTTO. Sir T., jSp 
Cawdor, Lord. 423 

Cecil, Lord Robert, 289, 400, 319, ydj; N. 
names him as possible ambassador at 
"Washington, 708 

Censorship, 363, 469^, 473, 479, 332, 6di 
Chamresiain, Austen— remarks on golf, 
40d; attitude to N„ 393; attack on ^eu 
Lords, d23; endoMd by N., dad, 627; 
Rexhenaete ataiude to, d37 
Ckamberlain, Joseph— wntes to N. oa 
Balfour’s policy, 29S 
Chamberlain, Neville, 317 
OiAj>aj20D ^ear DuNin)— W’s birth- 
place, 12. 13, 42r; house (‘Sunnybank’J 
purchased by N., 740 

Charteris, Brig.-Gen. J. (at G.H.Q. in 
France), 302 

Ckenery, Professor Thomas (T.T.), 4Ji 

Chesiebton, Cecil, 441 

Chier^o Tnbune — N. consibutes to, 383; 

and-Bntish propaganda, 738 
Chilcott, Sir "W., 880 
Crzzd, Harold (T'.T'.), 416 
Crosben— Northchffe's fondness for, 224, 
223. 8JI, 433, 818 

Chddren'i Eneyclopirdla (A.P.), 294, 398 
CMAai'f Newspaper (A.P.), 398 
Chips ^iarmsworch publicadon, 1890}, 113 
Crbol, Six Valentine — head of T.T, 
foreign depanment, 321, 331, 381, 399; 
mrigns, 427 

CsasHOiM, Hugh (717'.). 462 
OiBistTAM, Princess, 244 
Chrudan Budget, The (NicoU), I38 


904 


INDEX 


Chrisliait HcraU (Daxter), ijS 
QnmcHnx, Lord Randolph — favouraWe 
comment on Answers, ijS 
Churchill, Winston, 42; mother wntci 
to N. about his short story Aftui 
Oi'eriiMrii, 243; N. opens columns of 
DJlf. to, 253; thanks N. for support 
during election, 253; misunderstanding 
with N.. 323, 324: addresses German 
editon {1906), 327: N’s gift to, 3341 
invites him to lundi (1909). 3J7; N's 
instructions to DM. Cleave him alone 
for a time’), 419; views on warning to 
Germany by Lloyd George, 42a; N’s 
attitude to, 423; Cecil wntes of his 
reassuring cheerf^ulness after Cunagh 
incident, 454; views on Haldane and 
Kitchener, 465; N’t attitude to, 470; 
his desire to ‘muzale the press’, 479; 
disagreements with Lord Fisher, 48^; 
N. objects to DJlf. 'booming' him, 491: 
remark of N’s annoys him, 496; 
‘libelling N. in extra vigorous style’, 
309; N. urges his appointment as head 
of British War Mission, 329; olfe« 
support N. as head of an 'American 
Board’, 371; attitude before 1918 
election, d8i; wntes to N. before 
^ operation, 733; wears D.M. hat, 773 
Cwbyachtoorapk' — £ i>enin^ News device, 
ate 

Cbcuiation of newspapers — N’s schemes 
for boosting, 113; net sales certificates. 
137/. 836; competitions as aid to: 
sec COMPSTmONs; insurance schemes: 
see Insurance 

Cut of London School— N. founds Scho- 
larship at, 234 

Clachan public-house. Fleet Street, 63* 

CWKE, Alfrei 164, 788 

ClARKE, Tom (D Jlf. news editor), *64, 79*: 

views of N's illness, 841 
Clecc, Benjamin printer), 37 
ClEMENCEAU, M. Georges— N. writes to 
on French resistance, 646; attitude to 
peace negotianons, 711, 7^4 

Clough, W. O, candidate at Portsmouth 

election, 186 

Clowes, Six William Laird— part author of 
The Siege of Portsmouth, 182: guest at 
Elmwood, 223 

Coalminers— N’ s attitude to, 7ofi, 79* 

Cobb, Frank (American journalist), 726 

Cochran, C. B.— on actor’s pay, 7*4 
CocRERiLL, Brig.-Gen. Sir G.— at Crewe 
House, 636 

Cohen, Israel (Zionist Organization) 846 


Cota, G. D. H.— named by N. as possible 
Labour Prune Minister, 337 
COUBROOX, Frank, 46 
CoiLAWS, Gen. (Richborough), 517 
CouECB of St. Mark and St.John (Chelsea), 
7 

Cou£Y, William (D Af.), 230 
Colvin, Lady, 736 
CotWYK, Lord, 795 

COMERT. M., 610 . 

Comic Cuts (1890). 114/: M-P- “ 
House of Commons, 115 
'Cossic Stnps’, 116, 179 
Communist. The-N‘s reply to request 
from editor, 793 

CoMPETTnoNS and pnies, newspaper, B4JJ, 
9iS, 99. 141. 144. 159. 337. 446;— 
BreU standard (D.M.). 404;— Bos »nd 

tram ticket numbers (D. -Wirrer), 391: 
Dasif Mail hats, 773;— Football fore- 
casts. 173;— Missing words, 

a week forVe. io6/:-Sand 
casties {DM.), 77*;-Shop (complete) 
as Answeu Xmas Prize. I77;-Sweet 
peas {DM), 404;— Two pounds a 
week for life, 113 

Connoisseuf, The-N’s interest in, 263. 4I3 
Conrad. Joseph, 304. 834 m', 

Consiuentd Daily Mail. 240. 29I. 647. N * 
attitude to printers strikes, 730. 737. 

Coot C^H.— angling fhend of N., I33 

g^^Howarl (fr.). 448. 483. 486. 

304. ti43, 703.763. 796, 

CoRDWEU. (Auociated Press), 397 
SsIac*. Bng..Gen. J. D. (Bnnsh War 

34*. 453, ^ 

Couro’ Bank, 760 

CoX.f ° 

for Evening Timet, 37® 

Crawtord, Mrs {Daily News), 260 

CuAWfOBD. DougUs (secretary), 775 

Sir R.-work in America, J43 
CiiEtra House-Headquarters of N $ propa- 
d=p.r.m=«: 

C»Sr, Aidenon (eye >p=culi.t). 
CuR^S. George (D.M.). 647, 743 


905 



INDEX 


political ambitioiu, 622; leseuts N*! 
conunenu on exempdoa of fumen’ 
sons, 643: clashes of policy with N., 
644; reUdonship with N. tried, 
hints at resignation, 673', rcladoiu with 
N. leading to lesignadon, 6giffi hTs 
attitude, 735; N. discusses breadi with, 
827 

Dr OMAL coinage — N. urges T. T. to support, 
632 

Deciasation of London— N. disapproves 
T.T. policy, 410^ 

Db Las 210, Philip, 739 

Delbruce, Prof Hans — D,Af.lneerview,425 

Delcasse, M., 483 

Dell, Ethel M.— writes for Golden Slones, 


139 

Demkey, Jack— entertained by N., 831 
Denes, Monckton (Stamford school friend). 
386 

Derby, Earl of— thanks N. for help during 
rccTuidng campaign, 490; atntude to 
Government, 314; message to N. on 
leaving for America, 333; threatens to 
resign as War Minuter, di); with* 
^ws resignadoQ, €23: suggests N. 
inquires into German aviaaon, 768: 
telu N. the aueborides hoping to 
designate Eord-Iieuteoant of 

Itelud, 781: N. endcal 

Article inDjW,,837 

DBvtKBH, Rev. H, H. (Coventry). 3*. J9. 
67 

Dbvun, Joseph— views on N*s Irish 
policy, 500, 741 
DEVOKSioRe, Duke oC 88t 
Dewar, G. A. B. (anghng friend), 134. 349. 
483. 622 

Diceems, Charles— articles about in 
Answers, 98; DJt pays £*0.000 for 
aerial ri^ts of Life of Our Saviour, aj J 
Doxb, Sir Charles— opinion of N.. ao8 
Diwot, Frank (editor, Dai// Herald), 434 
Dobson, Aosdn, 299 

Doiunc, Fathu Robert— prosnincnt U 
Portsmouth elccdoo, siiff, friendship 
with N.. 223, a43; death, 271 
Donau), Robert (editor, Dai// Chrotiuu). 

42$. 489; resigns, 672. $83 
^uciAS, James (editor. The 5w). 734 
Douclas-Pinnant, Mrs. A.. 44$ 

Dowusc, Stephen {Continental Dailr MaJ) 
—at Erian dunng N't last Ulncss, S73 
DotnoE. Dr W, $$3 

A- Conan. 122, 136. 237. 43* 
DiustMOND, Sir Erie— tribute to Bntab 

War Misuon. 337 
Dbtoin, Vaughan (DJt).aia 


Dubbs, Marine, 27$, 280 
DubUn Saturday Review— N’t father writes 
for. 14 

Ducum, Charles (DJM), 349 
DuMOtrr, Santos, 300 
Duncan, John (secretary). 843. 847 
DuMior, J. B., 36 


EAStofEnglandNewspaperCo. (Norwich), 
291 

Echo, The, 241 
Eden, Fannie, 139 
Edcas, Mackay, 709 
Edward VII. 282, 330. 3*9. 434 
Edwards, Hamilton (AJ*.), 339, 371, 428 
EnxRMAN, Sir John, 29J. 737. 777 
PttfmnoD — base for Jackson polar expedi- 
tion, i$3 

EiMWOOi^Northclide's house at Broad- 
ttaia, siSff, 124. 134. X33. l6l, 16$, 4$$. 
317. 322. 333. 600/, 709, 770;— Boys’ 
camp at. 243. 424. 4$$ 

Eaipirb Press Union, 831 

Eneytiepeedia Driunntco—The Times atso- 

ciatioa with. 307 . . ... 

Lord, 329, 333; his opinion of N, 


Eton CoUege-N. 2 netua of pracncal 

(editor, Evening Hews), 209, 
384, 722, 733. *29. *33. *3$: retires, 848 
Evening Nrws-purehased by Hirmwo^ 
(I^4).i70p; Ourgoldenck (Harold), 
172; cams purchase pries in three yean, 
173; chartctcr changed by N., 1735 
re«>rd pnes for advemsemoat, 239: 
use of 'cineyachtognph’, a$o 
&n«w/ Sews and Perl— former Dtle of 
- EveninrHewt 


Faue, Bernard— leaves DAt for Evening 
Times, 370: editor. Weekly DispaUh, 712 
Femi// Hera/i, 72 , , 

Family Journal (Hannsworth publication). 


3$2 

Farman, Henri— flying at Chalons, 33J 
Fawcttt, Mrs Henry, 317. 3i* 

Fat, ProE S. B, J2$ 

FcBBJza. Dr (nerve speoahst). 284 
FutsnciaJ Hetrs—ne** oa Sunday news- 
rupers. 242 . , , 

FDOAtSON, Margaret (grandmotha). 10 
Pish. Walter (DAL). 723. *43. *74 
Fpiiim, J teben— N. puts forward as poudJe 
Ambauador at Waihingtoo. 708 
FoHEi. Admiral Sir J, 32*. 423. 3»9 

ftsuisa— N’t fondness for, 134. 137. l$l. 
21*. 2J3, i$9. 37*. *29. 6*2 


907 



HORmCtlFFB 


FitzHuch {Evening News), 830, 835 
Flowed, Newman (Cassell), 83a 
Fool. Geneial— views on N., 306 
Foed (Ktlbum pnncei), 36, 780 
FoaD, Henry — N’s mccong with, 363, j<S<^ 

60s 

FtT^et-Alf-Ns/— Harmsworth paper for 
women, 166 

FomCN quotations— N’s dislike oC 34 *} 
Foulcer, F. (valet), 8a3 
Fox, Frank (Australian journalist}, JI3 
FstANxruRTzx. Fdix. 623 
Fraser. Lovat— writes for Answett, 83; on 
TTie Times. 471. 473. 479. S9S. 739. 76} 
Frazer, A. H. (American Embassy in 
Paris. 707 

Freeman, G. S. (T,T.), 441, 676, 694, 703. 
733 

Frenqi, Viscount (Earl of Ypres)— and the 
sheU-shorUge, 474^1 invuet N. to 
Ireland, 727 

Frere, a. S. {Evening News), 800 
Furse, MnK., 38a 

Fytb. Hanulion— ediu Deily Mmat (1903), 
378, 282. with N. in America. 334, 
339. 383; at Crewe House. 63^ 638. 
d78; viewi on N't health, 777 

GAUWORnrr, John— correspondence with 
N. on Aaglo^mun relations, 3di. 
36a; vuiu ^rman prison with N,. 367. 
writes to N. on posuble aerial warfue, 
4td, N. asks him to crusade for humane 
slaughcetiag, 440 

Garsiner, A. G. (editor. Daly Nrun>— de> 
noimces T.T. war pc^cy in 1914, 463; 
'open letter* to N., 470 
Garvin, James Louis (ediror, The CHsserret). 
29s, 319. 613, OlO; views on N,, 330; 
fnesdship for, 338; views on duii^ 
lenzatioa of N. iq play, }6}i wnlt* to 
N. about TTie Otserver, 3^4; advises N. 
to rest, 300, N. concemed about his 
health, 371; wntes to N. about 1909 
Uudgcq 377, 378; accompanies N. to 
St. Kaphael, 39a; writes on N’s health. 
391. 394t parts political aadj'oumabstic 
company with N, 414/; wTitrs So N. 
on peace terms, 703; sends good wu^ 
N’s opetauon. 736; supporU 
Uoyd George in Genoa episode, Sja 
GATKftcmaa, C. (Tliffe), 66 
Gedoes. Sir Auckland, 68s. 693, 798 
Genoa conference (192a], 83sff 
Gioaca V, King — message &om «o 
to ttelind, 798 

Ceaice. Tom (bead printer, Carmelite 
House), 320, 34a 


Geraisine Press, 130, 216 
Gumany — N’ s concern about ambitions,, 
131, 232; D.Af. warnings, 232; N. 
in 1900 forsees war, 232; his fine 
visic to, 27a; DAI. Berlin corres- 
pondent reports on British ambassador’s 
attitude to DAi; 301; T.T, corres- 
pondent described as ’a £rst-dass 
swine’, 327; Admiral von Tirpiu’s talk 
with D.Af. correspondent, 332; N. 
orders compilation of memorandum on 
war pteparaaons, 331; Prof Delbruck’s 
statement, 337; N. and Gahwotthy 
write on dangers, 36I; N. gives inter- 
view to German news agency, 366; 
arranges for D JVf. articles by ’A German 
in England’, 368; gives impressions of 
snsic to Imperial Press Conference 
delegates, 369; N. interviewed in 
America. 383; commissions Blatch- 
ford to visit Germany; articles pub- 
lished, 384, 3S8. 3S9; German Emperor 
lectures Bndsb military attachd ui 
Balm, '403; interview, 423; Prof. 
Delbnick sutes German case in DAf; 
423; N. plans to print newspaper in 
Berlin, 426, 427, 443, 445; N. suppresses 
American interview with Gersun 
Emperor, 434; DM. Berlin cones* 
pondent continues wamiag messages, 
443. 4341 nephew asks N. to support 
Anglo^ennan fnendship club at 
Oiuord, 433; the ex-Kaiset regards N. 
with intense bitterness, 669; N't aracle 
Incognito into Germany, 666 

GimS. Sir Philip (Daily Chronicle}, 426; 
(DAL), 623, 824 

Oris’ Reaker (Harmsworth publicacioa), 

419 

GlapsiOne, WiUum Ewart— comment on 
Ansuvrs, 138; message to N. on DAL, 


Glasgow Daily News (Henderson), 43 
Glamour £rfia (Harmsworth publication), 
x88 

Clargou' Evening Mercury (Henderson), 43 
Globe, The, 293, 383, 395 
Grover, Bobert {Carmelite House), 847 
GlYN, Elinor, 486 

GoDiET, Gen. Sir A.— entertains N. in 
Cologne, i6qff 

Golden Sod — N. idea of paper, 339 
Golden Stories, 139 
Gower, S. {DUycImg News), 806 
GOE^— N’t taeetese in, 233, 40off, 433, 440, 
629.639.7‘6,793._84l 
C«{/— published by Leicester 1 larmswoitb, 

264 


90S 



INDEX 


GoODiiAST, Dr J.— advises N. on sleep, 302 
Goodrich (N's fag at Henley House), 34 
Gordon, Sir C. (British War Mission), 539, 
560, 361, 608 

Gossb, Sir Edmund, 341, 399, 300, 381 
Goudie, P. a. 737, 770. 783, 870, 871 
Goucii, Lieut, *Gen. Sir H, — coirespms* 
dencc with N , 643 

Graham, Hiomas— plans to acquire Evt- 
ning News, 173 

Gramophones— N's interest in, 164, 306, 
SSS, 647. 700 

Granby, Marchioness of (later Duchess of 
Rutland), 328 

Granet, Sir Guy (British War Mission). 361 
Greek— N’s comment on use m T.T., 333 
Greenwood, Frederidc (editor, Pall Mall 
Gazette), ji 

Grey, Viscount, 491, 749, 731, 763 
Grieve, M. (aviator), 736 
Grigg, Sir E., 437, 832 
Guest, S. A.— at Crewe House, 6s6 

Haig, Earl — N’s first meeting with, 302, 
303: his opinion of Lloyd Grarge, 
30G; N. wntes him about the cabinet, 
307; writes to wife about N’s help, 
312; abinet hostdity to, 320^ N’t 
feelings towards him change, 398: his 
opinion of N. as possible War Minuter, 
di3( N’t opinion ofHm, dao 
ILaloans, Lord— convertation with Ger- 
man Emperor, 323; meets memben of 
T.r. itiff. 327; correspondence with N. 
on Krvice aviation, 333, 363; seeb 
repon of address in T.T., 417; writes 
to N. on German E's ’ambidons’, 
434: and German danger, 433: replaced 
as War Minister by Kitchener, 464: N's 
opinion of 491 

W. B. (U.S.A.^— interviews German 
Emperor, 434 

Hales, A. G. (war correspondent), 333 
^lAif-PENNY newspapers, 204 
Hau-tone block printing, 14S, 179, 279 
Hail, Noble (T.T.). 669 
Hamilton, Everard (Irish cousin), 2i, 123, 

IS 

liAMiLTON, Helen. 774 
Hamhion, Sir t»n, 472, 647, 729 
HAMaiON. John, ij 
HAMttTON iamily, 23 

Hammerton, Sir J. (AJ>.). 293 . 294 . 3 J 9 . 
„ 34J. 39J 

llunpiuaj & Ui^h^ase Express, 26, 39. 3*# 

Hands, Charlet (D-U). 231. 323. 773 
Hanut, Sir M, 332 


Hascourt, Sir William, 230 
Hard, W. (New Republic, U.S.A.), 337 
Hasdincb of Penshunt, Lord, 330, 390 
Hardy, Thomas — N’s interest in his books, 
664.665 

Harmsworth — first appearance of name, 4 
Harmswohth, Alfred (Northchfie's father) 
— b. 1837. 6, alleged royal descent, 
3, 19: trained for teacher, 7: first post. 
8; master m Dublin, 9; meeting with 
Geraldine MalfeCt, 10, li; marriage, 12; 
house at Chapelizod, 12; legal training, 
12, id; letter on death offather-in-law, 
13: spar^time tutonng, 14; birth of 
son (Northdiffe), 14; leaves Ireland for 
London (1867), 13; called to bar, 16; 
onginates Sylvan Debating Club, 19; 
work as barrister, 20, 21; advice 
to son Ceol on public speaking, 
20: throat weakness, 21: a frKmason, 
22: moves to Vale of Health, Hamp- 
stead, 23. 24; Chambers' Journal d^ 
^es articles, 24; sells painting to pay 
bills, 24: Dickens rejects MS. for Houses 
hold Words, 23; present at Dickens's 
funeral, 23; death of mother, 27: 
moves back to St. John’s Wood, 28; 
last family home (Bound2t)^Road),29; 
discourages N. in jounulistic ideas, 41: 
dining companions at Middle Temple, 
42: relations with N. strained; N. 
leaves home, 48; seebj'udidal appoint- 
ment, 70; retained by Car^tert' Com- 
pany: sub-leta Temple Qiambets, 71, 
72; receives offer of post for son, 78; 
voice sdU bad, gives up Dound^ 
Road bouse, 80: moves to Brondesbury; 
served with writ, 81; death (1889), loj, 
104; Middle Temple portrait and 
memorial fund, 71, 72; — Nicknamed 
Hannie, 8, i9;-^traicened circum- 
stances. 21, 23. 24, 2J, 27, 39, 4R. 70. 
71. 80, 81, 104 

Harmswortii, Alfred (nephew), 303 

Harmswortii, Alfred Charles Willia m : see 
NORTHCiriTS. Lord 

HARMSWORnt, Ceol Bushopp (brother of 
N. andlaies Lord), id. 20. 23. 33. 4a. d 3 . 
70, 76, 80: Bmb, nicknamed 'Bu-dlci'. 
17; discussion on Cither’s claim co royal 
descent, 3: visits S)lvaa Debatuig 
Cub, 20; tecoUecuons of Grove Did 
Road home. 28; sent to Tnmty College. 
Dublin, 4a; gains univemry pnac, 103, 
107; wntti for Comk Cuis. 123; world 
tour (1894). 167: edits AnjuxTf, 217. 
228. 247: birth and dcaib of son. 224: 
wntes IMiU rukmf ftwlr. 221; marncs 


909 



NOKTHCUFFB 


Maffect cousin; part in finuly snccea, 
228; candidate for Parliament, 2<54; 
establishes with Hildebrand Ntw 
Uberal Rtview, 264; purchases Dt 
Johnson’s House in Gough Square, 
397; at Cap Martin, 440; Kag''* 
Government post, 479'. Ireland; 
instructed to contaa editor of Iri^ 
newspaper, 301; views ofN’r work in 
America, 377; and on N’l attitude to 
Government (tgi?). 59®'- “ 

Irish affairs, C13; discusses N’t atotude 
with Lloyd George, 676; under- 
leaetary at Foreign Office, 692; 
Harold’s views on hii pohtieal career, 
696-, offers to resign post after Uoyd 
George's attack on N., 713: hit London 
house, 773; writes on mother’* attitude 
to T.T. Irish policy, 8t9 
Hasmswokth, Charles (N’t grand£>ther), 

4, d 

HA&Mswoam, Chules (brother of N.). 29: 
lU-bealth; takes no part in lainily 
business, U9> 773i So) 

Hasmswostk, Christibel Rose (sister), apt 
raarriei P. C Bunon, 33t 
Hashswobth, Desmond (nephew), 303 
Haimswortm, Esmond (nephew)— N. *u^ 
port* in Thanetby-elecnon (ipt®). 737 
HAiMSWOB-nr, Geoffrey (nephew), 630 
HASSriswORTK, George (cousin of N’t 
grandfather), 6 

Hauuwobth, Geraldine Adelaide Hamilton 
(sister): tee King, Lady 
Habmswoith, Geraldine Mary (Nonh- 
chffe’s mother)— b. 1838. lO; Scottish 
descent, 10, ir, 23; marriage, 12; bears 
fourteen cluldren. 13, straitened or* 
ciimstances, see Huimswocth, Allied; 
death of husband, 103, 104; owns 
Boundary Road home; presents stained 
glass window to Kilbum Churrii as 
memorial to husband, 120; hving at 
Great Cumberland Place, 202; sons buy 
Poyntert Hall, Totteridge, 234; visits 
America with N., 333; concern atN’s 
aeroplane flight, 430; present at intro- 
duction of Rothermere in House of 
Lords, 432; advises change in N't 
article attacking KiKhener, 478; takes 
house near Hassocks, 6141 e&ct of 
illness on N., 772; Leicester buy* her 
house at Camden HiD, 773; protests 
at T.T. Irish policy, 8x8, 819; enndzes 
"vulgarity* of papers, 819; inqtutce 
about D JH. article on Lord Derby, 837 
Hasmswobto, Hannah (N's giandinodiet), 
3. t6. a? 


Kasmswobtii, Harold: see Rotijebmebe, 
Viscount . . .. 

Habmswobtii, Harold Allred Vyvyan 
St. George (nephew), 433. 303: 
wounded at Cambrai, 398; death from 
wounds, 6ao, 621 ,r j 

Habmswobtii, Harry Stanley Giffard 
(brother)— dies at eighteen month^ 39 
Habmswobth, Sir Hildebrand Aubrey 
(brother), 23. 103, 228, 433: education, 
64, S20; joins Answers, 102, 107; desire 
to become M.P., 107; share in Comic 
Cuts and Chips. 117; defeated in Pw 
liamentary election; svith Cecil ^ 
tablishes New Liberal Review, 204: 
leaves Amalgamated Press; differen^ 
with brothers. 292. 293*. lo«« o® 
Globe, 293: farming in Sussex, 773 
Habmswobtii, John, 4 
HABMSWOtni. Sir Leicester: see Habms- 
WOBTH, Sir (Robert] Leicester 
Habmswobtii, Richard (c. 167*). 4 
HABMSWOBTit, Richard (b. J739). 4 
Habmswobtii, Robert (i330-i337)”N 1 
descent from. 4 . » j u’ 

Habmswobtii. Robert (nephew)— death 
from infective endocarditis, 77a _ 
Habmswobtii, Sir [Robett] Lewester 
(brother), 23: note on family 1 alleged 
royal descent, 3; education, 64. 
it Answers, 107; world tour (i894)»*07» 
177; work for Home CkM, X795 
health; married, aaS; M.P. for Caith- 
ness; buy* Col/, 264; challenges 
Spender on N’l politics. aSp; leaves 
Amalgamated Press; buys shares m 
motor and in oil companies, 293! 
wntes memo, on Repinglon’s sbfli* 
dispatch, 476; N. visit* son in hospital 
in France, 303: baronetcy, 642; warns 
N. on health, 762; buys 77i< iVestern 
Morning News; buys Campdea Hill 
house for mother, 773: with N- 
Eviaa, 873 ff; N. wants him to have The 
Times, 873 

Habmswobth, St. John (brother). 29, 48: 
education. lao. 229; nicknamed 
'Bonchie’; flair for games; at Oxford, 
229; joins board, 238; his Pemer 
Water business, 292, 418, 771, 773. 
823: motor aeddent, 299, 300: than^ 
N. for care, 431: message to N. in 
America, 371; wntes on hu health, 74t. 
B41: letter on N’s last illness, 878 
Habmswobth, Sarah Anne (N’s aunt), 3, 9. 
12; marries Thomas Hendry, later to 
Frands Miller, 22; launches Kensington 
Advertiser (later named Kensington 


910 



INDEX 


Soric/)'), 23; asks loan ofN., paper fails. 
134; N's allowance to, 261, 466; N. 
visits in 1917, 592; death, 641 
Harmsworth, Vere (nephew) — letter from 
'dugout' in France, jio; death in 
action, 312 

Harmsworth, Violet Grace (sister), 25 
Harmsworth. Vyvyan (nephew): see 
Harmsworth, H. A. Vyvyan St 
George 

Harmsworth, Vyvyan George (brother), 
29; education, 105. 121, 229; works in 
machine-room of Neurs, 229, 

donates blood for transfusion to N., 
879 

Harmsworth, William Albert St JcJin: sec 
Harmsworth, St. John 
Harmsworth Brothers Limited (Ansiyeti 
Publications, Pandora Publishing Co., 
Periodical Publishing Corporation, 
Geraldine Press) — formed (iSpd), 216, 

239 

Harmsworth family^ustory, 4; nick- 
names, 17 

Harmsworih ^eychpaJia, 294 
Harmsworth Magazine (tSgS) — later London 
Magazine, 157, ajd, 137, 41^ 
Harmsworih Self-^iitaior, 294 
Harmsworth Trust, 118 
Harmsworth (Berkshire village), }. 4 
Harrison, Austin, 344, 610, 687 
Harvey, CoL George (U.S. Ambassador), 
7«.794 

Haselden, W. K. (D.M), 303, 44® 
Hawker, H. G.— attempt to fly Atlanriti 
726 

Hayter, ‘Tuppy’— post on TheRomblef,22} 
Headlam-Morley, Dr. J. W.— at Crewe 
House, 63d 

Headtines, N’s attitude to, 267. 37 J 
Heape, Walker, 439 

Hearst, William Randolph— relations wnh 
N., 268, 349, 8j7 
Heinemann, William, 449 
Henderson, Arthur— at Stockholm con- 
ference, 371: tlianks N. for space in 
D.Af., 689 

Henderson, James (pubhsher), 4J» 79^ 

Hendry, Arthur (cousin), d9 

Heniey, W. E. edits National Observer, 

167. 227, 234; writes In Memoriam on 
G. W. Stccvens.233; dedicates verses to 
N-. 255; N’s assistance to widow, 262 
Henley House School. 331 N. starts and 
edits magazine. 36, 37, 3®J conBnues 
contribunons after leaving school, 4y; 
N’s early journalist success noted in 
nugazine, 46 


Henry, Mrs D M. {Answers), 79i 

Herbert, A. P.— wins D.Af. prize, 661 

Hitai^s, Robert, 302 

Hicham, Sir Charles F., 674 

Hni, Roland, 184 

HoUER, Lacey, 60 

Hind, C. Lewis. 233 

Hodcson. W. E (editor. Westminster 
Cazelte), 198 , , 

Holbrook. Col A.— at Portsmouth elec- 

Hame Chat (Harmsworth publication), 1720’ 
Home Nous (Pearson). 179 
Home Sweet Home (Harmsworth publica- 
tion), 148 T> • 1. 

Honours— N’ l insistence on for British 
War Mission members, 360, 607, 608;— 
Newspaper proprietors, for, 233, 234. 

282, 295 -.u x T 

Hooper. H. E.— association with T.T.. 
307 ff, 416* 498 

HoovzsiHerbert CU.S.A.>-me5sagetoN.. 

HopS^E O. (photograpbet)— views on 

N’s health. 832 . 

HORDER. Sir T.— attends N. dimng I«e 
illness. 876/; denies certificauon of N. 
as insane. 872: t5P®« o" medical find- 
ings of illness, 877: Kiisies to vntneis 

Hobnaday. Prof. (New York), 33^. 340. 


Pwn/ Swries— purchased by N., 


HoRS^. Sir Victor, 298, 332. 34® ^ 

vBct)— N’s relations with, 327. 372. 
383. 384. 597. 684. 6831 discusses future 
of British Ambassador. 3771 “ 

N on his propaganda ampaip, 630. 
tribute to N.. 670. 

operation, 73i: 

b^gh; N. writes him Scodm^ 
749; 'intrigue’ against him in Washing 
ton, 750 

Kril'MS’S. (DM., .60: cd.. 

Daily Mirror, 278; Ns plans for her 

HtmSSiTON.'kley (r.T.). 710. 844. 832. 


Hudson. Sir Robetl-thanks N^r ^ 

tance to Westminster 

action on N./Stecd New York mter- 

v*w’. 803; with N. during Ust illness, 

rtu£TO^rd,Maddox (DAL). 300 

auiTON.Mr . — 


91I 



NORTHCUFEE 


Humphrey-Davy, F. H. M. N. (seoetiry), 
453. 599. <542. 659, 700, 793. 733. 744. 
746. 754, 806, 810, 818, 813, 841, 843 
Hundred Best Books (Lubbock)— l^nns- 
worth pubhcation, 240 
Hunt. Leigh, 24 
Hurley, Edward (U.S.A.), 59i 
Hyne, Cudiffe, 23S 


iriFFP, William, ssff, 14a; offerJ N. editoi- 
tVii p of Bicyehiij; News, 53, 56: rgects 
N’s idea for Answers, 66; view* on 
publication of Ddify Minor, aSL 
Illustrated Oinstian News, 138 
Illustrated London News, 40, 46, 47 
Illustrated Mill (Harouworth publication), 
242, 279; supplanted by Ch'erim Dmly 
Mail (1904), 242 

ItiusiRATiB papers, 46, 155. 260. 

Imber, H. (Enenita New*). 730. 791 
iMMSiAt Press C^etence, fee. 369 
Incmcape. Lord, 825 
Ingram ianuly, 46 

iNSTiruTB of Journalists, 436. 60J. 60* 
Ihsuu, Samuel, 586 

Insusancb schrmes to boost orculationa, 90, 
9t, 113 

I&eland—N's attitude to negotianom 
leading to settlement in Ip2it Cumgh 
aSalt (1914). 454. N. Visits Northern 
Ireland; his acbtu^ to possible avil war, 
45d; N. asks Ceal (m Ireland) to trace 
Irish newspaper editor, 300. 301; N 
complains of D M. leading article. 
writes to Prune Minuter, other acuv- 
ities, 614; his idea of a united British 
dojnimon, O73. rumours ofN. being 
appointed Lord-Lieucenaiif, 740. 741. 
781; T.T scheme for settlement, 740. 
Devlin disagrees with T.T., 741; Lord 
Grey’s attitude. 732. efieef of T. T. lead- 
ing article (July 1919), 767;N’iinotber’» 
attitude CO T.T. policy, 8t8, 819; 
Amencan request to N. for penonal 
expression of opiniOT, settkineait 
reached, 819 

Isaacs, George, 787, 831, 83d 
Isaacs,). H., 733, 736 
Isaacs, Rufus: see Readcnc. Earl of 
Islington Daily Gaaefle — N. consider* put- 
chase, 168 

Ixion (cycling paper), 37 
• IZTAllD, P. W. D., 338 


Jackson, Mrs (former Elmwood 
keeper), #42 

Jacxson, F. G.— polar expedidon sponioted 
by N.. 162. 163 


Jackson. Mrs N-— edits Home Chat, 223 
Jackson, Nevill (fishmg companion), 284 
Jackson, W. M. (U.S,A.) — association 
with T.T.. 307/. 416 
Jacow, Baton von — hatred of N., 492 
Jameson raid, 232 
Japan— N’ s attitude to, 798, iioff 
Jealous. G. S.. 26, 36, 39 . 780 
Jealous. Mrs H., 262, 352, 686, 778 
Jewries, J. M. N. (D.M.), 348, 4^2 
Jelucoe, Viscount, 320, 636 
Jews— N’ s attitude to, 332, 447, 722, 794. 
843. 846 

JOffBB, Gen., 473 

Johnson. Claude (Rolh-Royce), 256, 257, 
274. 438, 419. 600, 674. 784 
Johnstons (Henley House ichola), 633 
Jones, Kennedy- helps N. in Evening News 
purchase negonatiom, 171J; becomes 
editor; biographical sketch, 173, >741 
• at Portsmouth election, 183, 184; 
urges N. to produce provmcial papers. 
188; part in nammg Daily Mail, 196. 
view* on public ustc, 213; work £01 
D.M , 219. 248; congratulated by N., 
233; pan U3 Dasly Mirror, 277, 381, 
288; part in n^ouations for purchase 
of TiT., 31007 work at T.T.. 322. 
334. 333. 37®. 3^3.’ lelationj with N. 
sciained, 427; N. writes him about 
reparations. 7io, 713; his Fleet Street isnd 
Downing Street, 769: death, S16 
Jones, Sit Roderick (Reuters), 817, 841 
Jones, Dr Vernon, 275, 386, 399; death, 303 
Jones. Vincent 363. 455. 483 
‘JUNCta Jinks’— feature in Home Chat, 179 

Kelvin, Lord, 244 

Kenealt, Alex (editor, D. Minor), 281. 

28a, 416, 437; death, 484 
Kendal, Madge. 244 
Kenirt, Father (Margate), 770 
Kennard, Colendge—suppom Evening 
Newt and Post. 170 
Keasington Advertiser, 23 
Kenniigtiin Society (Mrs Miller), 23, 134 
Kerr. Sir A. C.— at Tangier, 764 
Kerr. Philip, 378 
Keynes, J. M., 576, 762 
Kidman (N’» father's clerk)— N’s assistance 

to. 760 

KiHum Post, The, 36 

King, Lady (Geraldine Adelaide Hamilton 
Harmsworth) — sister of N., 15, 76, lai, 
134. 228, 864 

Bang, Lucas (nephew) — tilled in action, 

476. 510 

Kiftg, The (Newnes), 270 


91a 



INDEK 


Kipunc, Rudyaid, 231, 237, 264 
KniSHBAUM-^nGirr, Rev. S. (T.T.), 734 
Kttcheser, Escl — appointed War Seci^ 
tary, 464^, attitude towards censor- 
^Pi 4^9: ^d shell-shortage, 474; 
D.M. cnadsm of, 476^; cnaazed by 
N., 481, 490; N. objects to ’pulT’ in 
T.T., 493; N*s opinion of, 626 
Kitchin, Harcourt (T.T.). 311, 314, 327 
Kihn, Henry (music pubhsher), 30, 167, 
262, 31S, 444 
Knight, the Misses, 28 
Knutsford, Lord, 492 

Labouchere, Henry (Tmt/i)— opinion of 
first D.M., 203 

Labour — N’t attitude to, 687, 704, 703, 763 
Labour Government— N ’s b^ef in, 337 
Labour Party— thanks N. for space in 
DM ,689 
Ladies A'ctariaf, 80 

Lamont, Thomas (U.S.A.), <584. 7}t 
Lanb, Franklin (U.S. Secretary of Sute).667 
Lake, Ralph: see Angeu, Norman 
Lang, Cosmo Gordon— <lhuag companion 
of N’l father, 42 
LANGLer, S., 467 
Langtry, lilhe, 244 
Lansdowns peace letter, 393 
Lansing, Robert— tnbuce to N., 391 
Latham, Hubert (avatcor) — makes first 
attempt on £nghsh CK^ei, 373 
Lauries, Sit Wilfrid, 379 
Lav, a. Bonat— N. ofen Press support in 
election, 400; dedmes to form Govern- 
ment, 314; defines N's task in America. 
343i possible visit to Amenca {I9I7)» 
373: N’l views on, 394: warns Lloyd 
George against newspaper piopnetoR, 
622 

Lawier, Miss {DM.), 660 
Leach, Henry (golf writer), 149, 4®* ’ 
League of Nauons — H. G. Wells’s ideas 
about, 632 

Lee of Fareham, Lord— N’s instructions to 
staff concerning, 778 
Lee, Sir Sidney, 413 

LncKTON, Mary Connor {Answers), 136, 
137. 149. 226. 337 

Leighton, Robert — director of Answers 
Ltd., 149 

Le Queux, William, 131 
Lesir, Sir Hardman (British Misskn), 
347. 339 . 382. 383 
Lever hbel case. 302, 337 
Lewis, Leopold, 32 

Lewis. WiUmott (T.T. Washington corres- 
pondent), 780 


tiRMAN, Dr E. (American specialist)— 
consulted in N’s last illness, 874 
LotGAXD.J. H. (manager, D.M.}, 209, 239 
Linforth, a. E, (Amalgamated Press), 783 
Ldhs Smtth, W. (T.T.), 763, S67, 876 
LisomB machine, 203, 20S 
Lipton. Sit T., 304, 381 
JJl/le Paper (later Children's Newspaper), 398 
Lloyd. Sir George — tnbute to N.. 797 
Lloyd George, David, 341, 389; &st meet- 
ingwithN .showshimstatedocument. 
b^inning of fiiendlmess with N., 377; 
his speech on Agadir madent, 422; 
N's instructions on treatment in 
DM., 433. mvolved in Marcom case; 
N. writes ‘I am not personally hostile to 
you’, 442; hu opimon on Anglo- 
German relations, 433, collaborates 
with N. Oil Irish question, 300; N. 
calls him ‘a slurt-sleeve politician . . 
urges him to visit war-fiont, 306; 
seaet meeting with N., 307; who 
charges hint with interference with 
strategy, 308; reconciliation with N., 
313. 314; discusses ministenal appoint- 
ments with N., 3 13 ; oflets N. Amencan 
ambassadorship, N. accepts ofier as 
bead of British War Mission, 328^; 
Amencan view of L.G., 3331 Dawson's 
opinion. 371, 373; attitude to Amencan 
supping plans, 373: desenbed u 
‘very irresolute’; attadwd sn The Glebe, 
383; tbanks N. for work in America, 
387, 390, talks with N. about Air 
Ministry appointment, 3 92,^; N’s views 
on CaWers attitude to peace, 394; 
N. wrongly blamed for endasm ofi 
393s afraid of N. (House), 396; 
alleged offers of Cabinet post to N , 
397; his plan for Irish settlement, 613; 
de^bed by N. as 'One of the most 
lenutkabfe men . . tf2o; Austen 
Chamberlain urges him to break with 
Press. 622; intrigues against him, 623; 
beginning of final stage of deterioration 
in relations with N., 627; N. writes of 
his 'indecision and lack of business 
training’, 634; intrigues in Cabinet, 
636; N’s attitude to, 641, 666, 667; 
thanks N. for propaganda campaign, 
670; discusses N’s uiShendly aidtude 
with Cecil Harmsworth, 676; Govern- 
ment's attitude to peace, 677ff; cause of 
N’s resentment, 682: WeslminsUr 
Gazelle interview (1919); his atntude 
to peace angen N.. yioff, attacks N. 
in Parliament, 713: N. objects to 
•puffing’ of L.G.. 723, 726; N’s atti- 


9*3 



NOKTHCUFFB 


tudc not i personal one, 739; relatioai 
with N,, 7JQ, 7JI, 763, 768; N. lefen 
to 'uckless pm-pricking’, 781; alleged 
to be conniving in pohd^ libel stmt 
implicating T.T., 784; N’s wws <», 
795; his comment on Sieed/Northcliffc 
‘interview’ in New York, ttoj, 804; 
N. writes on ‘alleged relaooas’ with 
L.G , 82j; his atatude to T.T. over 
Genoa Coafcjcnee indden^ 

N. orders he 'muse not be attacked 
personally’, 861; tumoun of posable 
editorship of T.T., 8S0 
London Hospital— N’t gifts to. 270, J32. 
349 

London Mogazmt (Harmsworth), 416 
London School ofjoumalism, 748 
Long, Walter, 797 
Lowndes, Mrs Belloc, 783, 799 
Lqwtoer, Hon. James, 232 
Lvet, Sir Henry, 73d 
Lucas, £. V., 228, 427 
Lucas, Seymour— paints N’s portrait. 156. 
483 

LusENDOBfF, Gen.— testunony to N’s 
propaganda offensive, 66} 

Lknch, Col. a, 300 
Lyttelton, Hon. and Rev. B., 483 


McAdoo, W, C. (see U.S. Treasury), 
347, 574. 389 

Me Auer, W. M. (Cenlmenref Daily Afail). 
290 

McCamu, Mr— N ’s deceeave in Amenca, 

397 

McCandush (editor, IVhttUng). ss 
McClkcns (guide at Canterbury), 766 
McCo&mick, MediU (Chicago), 384 
McCokmick, Robert (Chicago Tnluuie), 
447 

McCoy, Samuel (Philadeltitia PhUk 
Udger.) 819 

McCredy, R.J. (cydut), 135 
MacDonald, Ramsay, 710 
McGiluvray (Canadian sccirtary), 341 
PvlACKAY, Dr (Bitmmgbatn), 766, 783. 786 
McKenna, Reginald, 3 19 
Mackenzie. F. A. (DJt/.), 766 
Mackenzie, Sir James — consulted by N 
324, 724, 743. 730. 732; N’s gift to 
Sc. Andcetr’a cinic, 733 
Mackenzie. J. E. (T.T. Berlin corres- 
pondent), 443 

Mackenzie, T. E. (N't accountant), 463, 
333. 369. 723. 769. 778. 830, 868 
MACLEOD. L. R. (Djlf ), 618, 638, 639, 6jfc 

768.779.829 

McManus, j. E. — acung editor DJlf., 209. 


edits T7ie Afornin,j, 210; N’s attitude to, 
796 

Macnab, Brenton {Montreal Star], 418 
McNauchton, Tom — on staff of Carr and 
Co., 6$, becomes one of mask-haJl 
act, 70 

Mackas, D. G.. 48 
Madeavx, Paul (valet), 333 
Maefett, Adelaide, 13. 23; — Caroline, 27; 
— Charlie, 13:— Geraldine Mary: see 
Hasmswortk, Geraldine Mary,— 
Grace, 27;— H. T., 466; — Sidney, 12;— 
WiUuLm. to, 12; deadi. 13; will, 14 
Mahett family, 11, 12, 13. 23 
Macuue, Dr James, 14 
MALLOOt, W. H., 243 
MaiuhestCT Courier, 291, 296, 324. 332, 440, 
604 

Maiuheslct Cuardiatt, 477, 713 
Mansheid, F. j. (T.T.), 602 
ACann, a. H. (A.P.). 396 
Maioini case, 4\off 

Mabcosson, Isaac (American interviewee), 
334.371.609 

Majies, Harry— withdraws support to Efm- 
Ottawa 170 

Maekwicz, Edward (banuter),68, 76, xii: 
joim Can & Co., 67; edits The Private 
Si/ioolinaiier, 69; quarrels with Beau- 
mont. >02; seUs Ansurers shares, Il4i 
starts own papers, 133; friendship writh 
N. resume^ 133, 417; legal work for 
Arutvers stopped, 830 

Majoowe, Thomas— Joins 77ie Star; trans- 
fers to £ivnmf A’eu'S; news editor 
DJIL, 209; editor, 210. 2iz; suppresses 
Boer war message, 23s; position as 
result of Lever bbcl case, 303, dcabicss, 
370. 73): N. sending son to Marl- 
borough college, 417; advises against 
attacking Government (1914). 463: 
over-rules N. on atutude to sending 
British Expeditionary Force m 1914. 
464; atticude to attack on Kitchener, 
478: thanked b). N. on aniiude to 
Daily A'eu'i attack, 484; views on 
alleged desire of N. for Cabmet rank. 
396: appointed chairman of Assoaated 
Newspapers, 606, 688; congratulates N. 
on change of T.T. editor, 699; WTitei 
to N. on health, 722, 733 
Maeskah, Archibald (D.Af), 300 
Mabshau. Hah, Sir E. — N’s relations witli 
2B9 

MAmTON. R. D. (angling firiend), 134, 629 
Maktin. Mary. 4 

Alervef, 77ie (Harmsworth), 130, 131. 167 
Mast, Queen — message to N , 467 


914 



KOSTIICISFFS 


NEWfOUNBLANT>— Harnuworth'i p»per in- 
terests in, 176, 291, 371, 3i*Sl39S. 

Newnes, Sir George, 33, 83, 88, 498; suit* 
SS'< ongwates StrenJ Mafoziar 
(1891). 73; introduces free railway 
insurance, 90; slates N's articles on 
ticket-of-leave, 9d; attide on in 
AnsweTs, 97; views on guessing compe- 
titions, iiojofganires Antifttieexpoii- 
cion, 163; publishes Daily Couritr, 198; 
message to N. about DM; 203; 
visits N. about sale of busmess; starts 
illustrated paper; sells H^etl/y 
to N., 377; death; N. writes obituary 
notice, 394 

NEWsrAPEi pcopnetors— honours for, 233, 
234. 282, 293;— M’s attitude to, tSoi, 
776. 83a. 839. 835. 857 . 

Newsfatea Proptietors' Associatioa, 6ot, 
603. 832, 833, 833 

Newspaper Revitw (Matkwick), 133 

Newsfbint, lot, 204. 275. 353; and see 
Neweoundland 

Newtok, J. a. (^iVyehrt^ News'!, S09 

Newton,). H. (Amalgamated Press), 332, 
733 

New yorfc Anicritan (Meant), 339 

NiOiOUON, Reginald— accompanies N. to 
India, 3t8; biographical note, 333. 
living at Hurley, 333; in Amenca with 
N., 263: N. gives powet of attorney to. 
298; appointed assistant manager at 
T.T., 380, 381. 383, 388,4io;appomied 
to the Soard, 413, 43r: resigns &om 

T.r.. 486 

Nicou., Sir W. R., 481 


Nokthcuffe, Viscount (Al&cd Charles 
Wilhain Harmswoith); 

1863-1892— hiith, 14, 13; alleged royal 
descent, 4, 3, first school days, 27, 28, 29; 
effects of fachet's tinaoaal straits, 28 &ee also 
under Harmswokth, Alfred): powet of 
observation as child, 38, 33; deyemess at 
composltioii, 38. 33, 36, fights buBy at 
school, 29; at Henley House School, 33.^, 
bad at anchmeoc, 33, 36, known as 'fliHy', 
34; half-share in bicycle; starts school maga- 
zine, 36ff, early reading of newspaeerv 
39: reports for Hampstead & Hi^gaSe 
Express during school holidays, 39, 31; 
sebodboy pranks, 39: studies ger-neb- 
quick ideas; markets ‘Tonks’s FiUs*, 40; 
leaves Henley House School (1881), 41; 
dines with father at Middle Temple; univer- 
sity education conjidered, 42; replies to 
Personal column advertisemejit in T,T.; 
engaged as secteury-compamon for Coo- 


1863-1892— 

tmessial tour (1883); French admiral's cotn- 
pliment, 43^; introduced by father to 
ibundcr of An Journal, Sala advises him to 
av^ Fleet Street, 44: studies publications 
for the young; friendship with James 
H^eison, 43; makes J^3 a week as free- 
lance, 46; 'going to be editor of T.T. some 
day" (Morton), 46; wnies serial for youlii, 
46, 49; becomes editor (jQ^ 2 week); victim 
ofptacticaljoke at Eton; paper sold, 48: rela- 
tions with father suamed; leaves home; lives 
vnih Herbert Ward, 48; influenced by 
Ward's travel experiences, 49; income re- 
duced; moves to Clapham; shares clothes 
With Ward; Sunday visits to parents, 49; 
lodgings at Regent's Park; composes 
the ‘^ca Terry Waltz', 30, 113; friend- 
ship with Henry Klein, music pubUsher; 
changes lodgings; spen^ Christmas with 
family, 30: tends venes to Kiem; diary 
cncnci about future wife’s home, 31; 
sumes freelance work; wins goose; con- 
tnbutes to Casseirs SarurJay Jountitl, 32; 
With Pemberton alls on George Newnes at 
Tif-0>fs office; contributes to tame, 33, 34! 
Seeks capital to start paper; Dilfe oifeti 
editoniup of Bicycling News; tigns agree- 
■nenC, 53; moves to Coventry: tha^ sitting 
room with clergyman, 38; sketch of ms 
career published in Wheel Uje, 39; his work 
on BieyB'mg Nrws\ called ‘y^ow-headed 
wonn’ by former editor, 60; employs 
woman comrspondent; perpetrates hoax in 
The Cydut. 61; uses pen-name of 'Arthur 
Pendennis’; 63. 97; takes lessons in deaf 
alpbabenda; sends money to Cecil ta Dublin, 
64; salary increased, 64; Ibffe (ejects sugges- 
Qou of publication of tAnswerr to Correspon- 
denisi leaves Iliife's: 'too hot for Uiffe’, 66; 
arrangement with Dargaville Carr (see 
Cam and Co.); joins Cart in Kilbum 
lodgings. 67; absent from father's birthday 
party; planning Atuww (4 v.), 72^; 
iniecviewed by English Illustrated Magazine, 
73; income in 1888 (>C2t>o)! marriage plans; 
repays part of debt to Francis Mdler, 76; 
wedding, 77: displays copy of Answers at 
cereniony; economical honeymoon, 78; 
home at Pandora Road (cent £26), 80; 
wntes serial on ticket-of-leave men for 
Atuwers, 88; bad handwriting; uses type- 
writer, 87; death of father, 103, 104; 
incident with barbers after atuclein Ansu'err, 
97; attains absolute control of Answers, loa; 
announces himself as editor, in; sends 
cheque to Balaclava Heroes’ Fund iJJt 
founds Pandora Publishing Company (1890) 


916 



NORTHCUFFE 


1911-1917— 

Wishington cotrespondcmt’i messages, 517; 
declines Ambassaaoiship at Wa^iingtoa; 
accepts post as head ofBntish War Missicai, 
i2%S, U.S. President’s attitude to N., jjo; 
his iDstnictioas to O.M. staff; opposiCKm to 
appointmaiC in America, siiffi dcscnbci 
journey to mother, mff', describes his task, 
jjfi; reception in America, jjSJ, ptotesuto 
Lloyd George, yjS; urges ippaiatmott of 
Lord Bryce as Bndsh Ambassador, 342. 
Jeadenhip of Mission attacked in Parliament, 
J43! urged by Austm Hamson not tojoui 
Government, J44; reports to Lloyd George 
on work of mission, flair for publiary, 
jjoJl ukes Bolton Priory as home, J54; 
dcsenbes life in Washington, 555, offices in 
New York, his staffs, SS^: enuaaes 
American 'unpunctuaUty and veibonty"; 
his period of engagement, j6a, thou^t 
for female staff sent from England, aiuuciy 
over oil shonage. 363; urges vuit by Lord 
Ruding, 5d4: meets Henry Ford, jdj; work 
of cartoonists, j6d; receives atcennoii from 
esemy spies; his eKort, }6j; presses for 
vuil ^ Reading for Joan negotiations: 
Harold offers to uke over N's post, 370, 
urgn Bnosh protest against American 
shipping plana, }74ff, welcomes acnval of 
Rea^g and Keynes, 376, 377. tributes to 
N. by British Mmisiccs; acuvittes in 
Canada, 377,^, r&um^ of war-time life, 379: 
plans return to England, 3S0, 3S7; urges 
propaganda campaign in Atnenca, 
speeches in support of Liberty loan. 386. 
visiti Dajton, Ohio, to ice Orville Wnght. 
3*7; seaet leaving of United States. 388; 
cnbuiei to. 390, 391; returns to London; 
declioes poit as Air Minister, 392. thanks 
Lloyd George and War Cabinet for 
message, 393: created Viscount (Now. 1917), 
394; suspects Uoyd George of listening to 
peace talk, 394. objects to use of ‘pacifist’ 
and ’pacifism’ in papen, viesvs on Lans- 
dowTic letter; interviewed by 77ie Clofre. 
S9S. m France; fielmp towaich Haig 
change after battle of Cambrai. 398; ic- 
introduction to Mouse of Lords, 399; 
acbnues at Elmwood, 600J. sympathizes 
with jounulists’ salary claims. 601, 60a; 
approves T.T. atunide to Labour, iSoj; 
return to America eapeelrd, 606 
. I9t8-I9i9— teiigns chairmanship of 
Associated Newipapers Co., CoO 617- 
London MQ. of War Misuon move* to 
^ac JW. 6J7. explains purpose* of 
English cud of Mission. 610: coirects 
miMUtement u, T.T.; Diteaot of Pro. 


1918-1919 — 

paganda in Enemy Countries, <5i3^ (for 
laltr references see Propaganda in Enemy 
Councncs}; at Elmwood; considers Irish 
situation, di4, 613; consider* staff salaries 
at T.T.; objects to use of slang. 617; orders 
reduction tn sire of D.Af. bctduig; IVeekly 
Dtspalch staff at Elniwood conference; 
replenishes medical chest; memorandum to 
his doctors, dip; writes to Rosebery on war 
losses, 620; affected by death of nephew in 
F/ance, 6ts; bis attitude to Ministry; 
believes Lloyd George will sweep country 
m election: <^23; in air-raid at Totteridge; 
imtutes woik ia enemy propaganda depart- 
ment, <524: recalls his war work and 
entidstn of Lord Kitchener; cnticisia of 
Austen Oiamberlain. 626, 627; talks with 
Goieral Peishing in London, 628; retires to 
Elmwood; suggests that Campbell Stiurt 
relieves turn of post at Crewe House; 
cnucum of Goveroment. 631: writes to 
Milner about possible cail-up of Dawson, 
632; about possible secret peace negotiattoni 
and Sir William Robertson, 633; dislike of 
War Cabinet, 6J4; pJani Atutnan Jeafiet 
campaign; demands mformation on possible 
change of Government policy, 633; at Can- 
ford Clifia; complains of T.T. attitude to 
Uoyd George, 637; plans short arnclei for 
D.Af , <39. devise* pen-namei for con- 
tnbuiots, 640; hohday at Lechlade; 
cnDozes his papers, 642; m favour of recon- 
stnicuon of War ^binet; instructs DAf. to 
expose excropnon of farmers’ sons; wnte* 
on basis for exchange of prisoners; concerned 
about London branches of German banks, 
643; action on enemy aliens, 644, 646, 649, 
<33; Mays with mother at Totteridge, 644; 
learns of peace plans at expense of Russia. 

back at Emwood; writes to French 
President; praises T.T. sub-cditing; cnti- 
cism of paper continues, 646: urges T.T. to 
combat suggestion for tax on books; 
criticism of Sir Ian Hamilton; on illegibility 
of signatures; actmtiei at Elmwood; 
Campbell Stuart relieves him of roucme 
work at Crewe House, 647; named by 
Cemian* as "Minister for the Destruction of 
Cerman Confidence'; H. G. Wells (at 
Ctewe House) wntei of great disorgamza- 
rioiv <>48; N. responsible solely to Prune 
Minister for propaganda work; criticizes 
Uoyd George, 649; walks with Leicester 
at Hampitead; enjoys relationship with 
nephews, 630: resumes use of leafiet-drop- 
puig aeropUnei; tribute to Beavcrbiook's 
work; messages to T.T. and DJM. on hi* 



NORTHCUFEE 


and huge sign for T.T. building; lepUei to 
messages from T.T. staff after operat^ 
74a; suttment of political policy prodaim- 
me independence; advice _ to A.P. stafl 
members leaving for America, 743: 
for Scotland Quly *919). 744; “'*• 

day week at DJlf.; thought for woinen 
workers at T.T. 74J: >"'««* » 

School of Journalism; writes on Steeds 
editorial authonty. 748; concern for 
dmons in offices. 748/. l«ves ^t^d 
(Sept. 1919); his new house m Carltim 
Gardens: git to Sir James Mackeies 
clinic. 753; his view of life. 7i4: attitude to 
protest &om D.Af. machine managen about 
DM. attitude to railway strike. 735; 


1920-1911 — , . . 

demands by ConfmctilaJ D.Af. staff; cnucizcs 
Wardiam Smith. 775: in London; discussw 
wage demands; threatens complete shut- 
down: dislike of Hect Street propneton. 
776; displays of temper; telauons with 
Walter. 777: threatens reduction ot i.i. 
saff; considcB cuts m Christmas box list; 
orders about Lord Ue of 778; 

threatens to transfer interest in T.T., 779. 
talk with Pnnee of Wales at Sutton Place; 
message on unpopularity of T.T.; ^ 

south of Fiance. 781; ‘tnke threats in Pans 
and Newfoundland. 783: worried about 
possible DJlf. libel action; tribute to 
Cannehte House door-keeper; wntes on 
value of pubhcjty to Rolls-Royce. 784. 
u., .u. - 


_ 7Ji: value ot puouacy to ^ i, i 

campaign; supports Esmond Hanmworth wood;ctitiQr«g«^ne*. 7;T.... 

S byXion;‘^tcm wnc against 71« load unbeatable’; ;^«t^to 

T«Jer.7i7;reiJUndsiuffofdiscoctedviewof suitw.788! *'**"^* 1? ?' Wru-# 

newspaper pioprietonhip; buys Notes W M.e little deles’ 


Anglo-American relations. 73^: considers 
publuhing new journal (T«< Ain<n<M 
Afeiitiily). 739: attitude towards bank fusion. 
760 

1920-1921— tits With Twells Utex in 
last iUness. 7di'. urges continuation of anti- 
waste campaign; attacks Govenunent; 
leaves for Mentone. 76j/; womed about 
company taxauon; his views on Tangier; 
tecaUs talk with King Alfonso, 764; con- 
remed about pay of messengers fl should 
organize a strike’}: gift to airman’s wife. 
763. pits assutance to Canterbury guide; 
advu^ by doctor not to visit Cuiada; 
visits doctor at Bumingham, 766; speaks on 
commercial asnation, 767; concerned about 
health of T.T. chiefs; and about pay of 
provuioal correspondents, ~(iii attitude to 
public reUtioas officen, 769; orders changes 
at Elmwood; aiutude to printers’ wage 
demands in Manchester, engages new 
assistant secretary. 770; sends thanks to 
rurgeois and ph) uoaiu; gift Co Westminster 
Abbey Fund; praises Annms, 771; plans 
sand caule coropeucion for O.AL, 772; 
worried by illness of mother. 77a, 7 
’ ' - - John; worried by Rod 

‘moans'; wrues about 


advcttisemeBts; enooses u.t 
for D.Af.. 792; snend* Manchester 
anniversary celebtadotis; goes to uandon 
bungalow, 794; wri'e» cruelty to pet- 
fon^g affinuls; greets new American 
Ambatudor (Harvey); 
with Cennan-Jewish banl^g 
hiius at resignation from Assocuied Newi- 
papen and directorthip of T.T.; concenwd 
about hbel acnon. 797: refuses to be I3^‘ 
table; criiirism of T.T. editorial staff. W. 
leaves on world tour ‘9**)- 1 °°’ 

IWi prints skit; Aforrimj Post verses. 801. 
Steed navels with him to Amenca; N. dic- 
tates article for DM. on A^ui/eine. 802. 
alleged interview implicating thc^ >ving. 
goaffi piotcsU against Prime Mmister s co^ 
niem on ’interview’. 803; visit boycott^ by 
Dritwh officials: received by 
Harding. 804: ttudies the Pacific ptobleim 
803; meets old friends in Vancouv«. 806: 
in New Zealand, 807; in Australu and 
Tasmanu, 808, 809: writes on Japanese 
danger; alleged telegram to Kuig on 
religion; leaves for Japan. 810; tcccpnon at 
Manila. 8ia; in Hong Kong. 813; ui Japan, 
8*1. 814! m Korea. 814; m China, 813; 
urges T.T. to advocate terminaucai ot 


worried by illness of mother. 772, 773; urges T.T. to advocate terminati^ 
give helps to St John; womed by Roih^ Anglo-Japanese treaty. 813; planning tr^ 
mere's financial ‘moans'; wntes about S. America, 8i6; sends picture-posted 
Hamilccn family; complami of WirkJf friends and stafls, 817; cables initrucooas 

Dnpatli; vuiu IL C. Wells. 774; su^esti Irish policy. 818; at Saigon; commit to 
DSi, hat campaign; attitude to wage death of Sir Arthur Pearson; guest ot twng 


922 



INDEX 


19:0-1921 — 

of Siim; Chnstm« message to President 
Harding, 820 

1922 — approves D.Af. campaign for 
price reductions; in Ceylon, 821; embaiks 
on ‘thinning regime’, 822: dictates descrip- 
tion of activities for six hours; plans torn* 
abroad, 823; memory lapses at Suea; 
writes to Keith Murdoch on his tour, 824: 
writes to Hudson about relations with 
Lloyd George, 823: in Palestmc; addressed 
as 'King of the Press’; writes to mother from 
Jerusalem: foretells trouble in Palestine; the 
‘National Home ideal a British misuke’, 826; 
at Port Said, 827; at Marseilles; weight 
reduced, 828; leaves for Cap d'Ail, fussing 
over health; threatens immediate return to 
P.H.S.; objects to Steed's Far Eastern policy; 
entiazes D.Af. hterary editor, 829; cnticism 
of Evening News, 829, 830; instructions to 
DJlf.on top-heavy advertisements; worries 
about T.T. blunden; firm line over 
Continental DJVf. wage demands, 830; 
leturm to England; at Ctowbotoogh; 
«pearince on return to London. 831: sends 
for George Isucs; ispleased at wage-cuts; 
attitude towards Fleet Street ptoprieton; 
leaves Newspaper Ptoprieton' Aisoeiaoon, 
*3*1 833; louator cotisiden ^ incapable 
of burincss; ‘I am going to die’. 832: seom 
entical message to T.T. editorial staff; 
announces reduction in price of T.T., 8J3, 
834; returns to south of France; editorial 
staff of Evening News resent meswge uom, 
*33i 836: plans serial stories; visio 
specialist: calls on British Ambassador in 
Paris; lus opinion of Lord Derby, influences 
character study in D.AL; mother inquir^m 
auihonhip. 837; CatraeLte House ^chieft 

summonedtoPamattitudetoprinten wage 

demands; cntical attitude towards Roihet- 
mere, 839; attitude towards Fleet Street 
proprietors and labour relations, 839^ 83d, 
views of Scottish joumahsts, 8*0; at 
intolerance to noise; writes to Campbell 
Stuart * T.T. must be made more interesting ; 
sends money to former Elmwood house- 
keeper. 842; message to EvatingS^s a^g 
editor; to teorganire secreunat and w orking 
843; at Fonuinebleau: critiaacs papen 
and criuciim of Steed, 8441 returns 10 
London (Apnl): views on Pa’^mc; atmuJe 
to Jews, I43. 846: duUkes DJ>I. ads-ertise- 
|nents; proposes placing D-'L hall 

in charge, I47; plans improvements snD-»i«. 

farewell lundi to editor of D-ening 
*48: w aubet dismbutioa ofpipets: ruiaout* 
about his hri'tb. 849; describes wotU tour 


1922 — 

M Sylvan Debitmg Oub, entertained by 
Empire Press Union; opmion ofnewspaoer 
lepoiten; entertaim Jack Dempsey; takes 
guests to British Museum, 831; 
phoosgraphie department at T.T.; criticism 
of Uoyd George; instructs Steed to attend 
Genoa conference, 832; reproves Steed. 833: 
cflect of Genoa episode; possible hbel action 
by Uoyd George; his last pubLc function; 
Cerman rcacnoa to his proposed visit. 834; 
c o m ph'"* of ‘office nepotism’; lus pamphlet 
Newspapers tmi their Millionaires, 833; 
attitude to adverdsing; net-sales campaign, 
836; irritability at Elmwood. 837. SJ*- 
N at Boulogne signs tegiiter as Leonard 
Brown. 839. 863; shows cha^eur a revol- 
ver Sjo; li^eatening letter; invited W suy 
with C-in-C. BnQsh Army of the Rhine; 
Foreien Office amtude to visit. 860: 
pract^ revolver shooting; message to 
!i,on fa.m Brauti C'l-a, mua no. be 
.tucted pnonilly'); no "o n.e=t 

Genn«nr <» IT'V, 

Cologne: food poisoiung siuperted, 861. 
M2; toms that John Walter wuhes to kU 
interest in T.T.\ inrident with Germans tm 
train. Sdj; worried about runiours ofmee^ 
engagement. 863. 864: dismis«s golf pr^ 
SkSuJ, 863; hu dream; complains of smeU 
ofsM in bedroom; mstructioni to dismiss 
reLmves in hu papers, 864; 
a ‘naughty boy^ telegraphs to Lord 
incidmt at Boulogne with 
stream of telegrams. 863; ameles 

T.r. and DM; m«tes Sterf w 
PanZ 866; attitude to Pnee 
chance*; announces purchase of Walter 
intawTin T.T.; Sutton advises him to ce« 
woik. 867. 868; offers John Walta We 
d^amhip of T.T.. 868; his plans f« 
funmr. S69: « Pam: reception of 

W; ZJSim to r.T.: Prod^ 

notes on his behaviour, 
to injJtnn 

„r tT. staff; behaviour at 
87tff Lausanne neurologist called 
.uitmcnt ot ttm&u.on 

to to 



NORTHCUFFE 


1922— „ , . 

whispered utterince, 88:, 883; ae»^ 
cause ulcerative endocarditis: funeral setVKc 
in Westminster Abbey. 882. burial at 
St. Mirylebone Cemetery, Finchley, 884 

‘A Thousand Ways to Earn a living’, 68 
‘All About our Railways’, 68 
Anonymity, insistence on, 188, 230, 381, 
415,500,619 

Appearance — good loolcs noted, 29, 34, 

40. 41, 47, 59, 68, 77, 80, 93, 182, 189, 
212, 226, 256, 284 

AliJie IFur. 509, 518, 567,685 
Biography, suggested— T^ think such 
pubheationa are indecent', 415 
Character sketch, 226^ 

Charactensties, 338^ 

‘Chief’— first addressed as. 239 
‘Ellen Terry Waltz’, 50. *13 
Eyesight, 3or, 344, 43*: dark glasses pre- 
tenoed, 323; consults ocuhsc in Cer* 
many, 333. 364. 366 
Family attachment and allowance* to, J66. 

418, 466, 68j, 878 (and pujiim) 
Freemason, 184 
Gennan cartoon, 671 
German relations, 26, 27.‘362, 4*3- 491, 

493 

Greet Anti-Ncrihcliffe Mail, The, 524 
Habit*— reclining habit, 137. 133. 721,730 
Kiir— Napoleonic forelock, 39, 40, 183 
212, 226, 228, 340. 4S1, 625 
Handwtiung, 87, 146 
Health— sickly a* 2 child, congesoon of 
the brain, 17; ptieumMua after leaving 
school, 43; ilmess affects ihroat. 50: 
congestion of lungs, SSi mflueiua 
(1890), 112, attacks of faintness (1894), 
152, 153; hypochondriacal moods, 153; 
senous advice by doctors, 217, com* 
plete severance from work oidered. 
218, ‘I do not remember b^g so well 
for years' (1898], 233; influenza; 
malaria, 269; depressed; prostate pain, 
270; warned to go slow by doctors 
(1902), 274; liver trouble, protracted 
neuralgia, 275; examined by nerve 
specialist (1904], 284; pComame penson- 
ing, 339, 351; depleted nervous 10- 
serves; pancreatic trouble, 340, so- 
called bramstorms, 341; low blood 
pressure symptoms, 343; nervous ex- 
haustion. mteiest in 'nature cure’, 386, 
innutsmg home (1910), 391; inflamma- 
tion of the pancreas, easily &tigued, 
nervous. 392. ‘ultimately you will be 
quite well’ ^^^wson), 393; flouts ex- 


pensive medical advice, 395. valvular 
damage to heart, 396; rumours of in- 
curable disease, 399, 405: wdUi 

m America (1917). 57o: effe'f 
Mission exertions, 582; throat trouble 
(1918), 614: thyroid, 619; warned by 
doctors (April 1918), 629: bronchius; 
influenza, 630; bouts of despondency, 
637; changes diet. 659; lump in throat, 
&j}, 688; diary of symptoms, 691; 
bronchial part distinctly better. 697; 
examined by throat specialist, 767, 
cancer of the throat rumours, 722; 
adenoma of thyroid gland, 7*4; 
removed (June I9t9), 736; neuntn, 
743: feels ‘unable to go on, 75°; 
vaccine treatment, 766, 782, 786. 
thyroid flow mcreased, 768; attacks ot 
nose bleedmg. 783; improves on world 
tour. 816. ‘I have not felt to weU for 
years' (Nov. 1921). 817; ttramed by 
wotid tour and severe dieting, 833ilt 
rumours of mental health (May 
849: his last illness, 871/: BMJ. review 
of illness, 878: cause of death ulcerative 
endocarditis. 882 , 

High office, allusions to alleged destfe 
for—'! have no desire to enter the 
Government’ (Apnl 1916); Bishop of 
Birmingham hoped that ‘before long 
we may see you direaly responsible . . . j 
‘When 1 am really wanted and askeo 
for 1 come forward’ (Apnl 19*6). 
498; ’wanted nojob except to tato part 
in the final Peace Conference (N.. 
1916). joo; ‘If 1 were to 
Government I should lose . . • 

19 16), 509; ’Heaven forbid that 1 should 
ever be in Downing Street (N., I917), 
519: craving for pohtical power given 
no credence in his personal cncle: 
rejected high office in order that T.T. 
may be mdepcndent’, 596: 'The Prime 
Munster has repeatedly offered him a 
seat’ (House, Nov. rpt?). 5971 I 
lately agam refused Cabinet oniw 
(191B), 613: Strachey writing on the 
risks of ‘a Notthcliffe Ministry ; 
Dawson’s comment, 622. 629: I have 
no desire to be Prime Mimster’ (1918), 
628; 'Ihave declined tojoin the Govern- 
ment’ (1918), 643; Uoyd Georges 
attitude to his alleged desire to enter 

Cabinet; LordBeaverbrook’sstatement, 

661, 662: ‘If ever I uke office’, 668; 
statement on alleged desire to be a Peace 
Conference delegate misunderstood by 
Uoyd George. 682, 683; ‘I was asked 



INDEX 


to join, but declined’ (1919), 693 
Journalism as a Profession, 207 
Mother, devotion to, 331 and passim 
‘Motors and Motoring’, 237 
Munificence — penonal gifts, 1 10, 127» 
167, 261, 262, 288, 318, 333, 337. 349. 
330, 337. 372, 390. 413. 417. 463. 485. 
604, 660, 683, 68(5; public benefac- 
tions, 113, 263, 349, 418, 463, 466, 322, 
604, 686, 763, 766, 770, 778, 872 
Napoleonic gestures and pecuKantict 
noted (see iso Hair, above), 226, 227, 
228, 239, 243, 268, 293, 320, 342, 348, 
377, 429; addressed as 'Poor dear 
Napoleon’, 302 

Newspapers and their MtUionaires, 833. 
867 

‘Newspaper Special Editions’, 54 
Phrases on or by Northcliffc: 

By NorthcHfTe — ‘Arbitrary gent’ 
(1919). 709: — 'Banlcruptcy or Owke- 
ley Square’ (on D.Af.). 1935 — ‘Be- 
hind the uritabdity much warm 
gratitude’ (19:3), 483;— Flashing 
about Europe like a dragonfly’ (on 
Uoyd George, 1918), 649;— ‘Flog- 
ging those poliucal j^elly-fish into 
action' (1917), 379;— ‘Greatest spend- 
thrift in history’ (t9i7). 361;— 
‘Helping to win the war’, 33*. 35^* 
j8o; — ‘1 am on the inside of the 
conference' (1919), t*''* 

declined to join the Government 
(1918), 643;— ‘Monsters of the Fleet 
Street deep’ (on newspaper pr^ 
pnetors, 839, 843; — ‘My “ 
worse than my bite’ (1922),— My 
frequent use of high explosive 
(*913);— ‘My place is in die House 
of Lords’ (1893), 186;— ‘My quew 
way of running a newspaper’ (1921), 
783;— 'My rough ways’ 

336; — ‘My ruthless methods’ (I9*7). 
383;— Newspaper work ‘gives no 
scope for genius’, 68;— People 
think I have a kink', 692; — ‘Power of 
the Press . . . not so great as the power 
to suppress' (1918), 618; — ‘Press my 
sole source of power’ (192*). 782. 
— ... Put me in the Tower’ (I9»J). 
479;— ... to keep aloof from 
tnemben of this Government 
. . . .’ 470:— T/i< T»m«. on: see under 
The Times;— We've struck a gmd 
mine’ (on Daily Maii)i 204 
On Notthdiffe — , 

‘Dicutor of England’ (House. 19*7J. 
396;— Foremost figure ia journal- 


ism’ (Beavetbrook, Aug. 1918), 661; 
—‘Full of aspiraaons for power 
(Esher), 271;— ‘His big and un- 
doubtedly unco-ordinated brain was 
hke a weather-chart in stormy nmes 
^ G. Wells, 1918), 632;— ‘King ot 
the Press’ (telegram so addressed m 
Palestine). 826;— 'Like going for 2 
walk with a grasshopper (Lloyd 
George. 1916). 3i3:-‘Most dynamic 
of all . . British visitors to Washing- 
ton in 1917' (Daniels), 332,— ‘Most 
picturesque figure in journal^ on 
either side of the Atlanac (Ralph, 
looi). 268;— ‘Most powerful man 
i^ntain . . . [he] began to beheve it 

fFvfe 1017), 582, —‘Mostremarkable 

Sl^vIeLseen- (Dil^).2o8:- 

•Northchfie the King Maker (Egyp- 
tian Gazette). 823;- One of 
greatest cosmic and world forces for 

good- (Aga Khan. 19X9). 7o8,-- 

a striking success [m AmerKaJ 
(IJoyd Geoige memoirs), 3^.“ 
‘Wo true’ (House, J917). 

•That amaaing man’ 

.go-„Thy servant Alfred (Rev- 
^ Bourehier), 
member’ (House. W7).i9°‘T 
•Weathercock’ in 

« of Ihe^caust^fi^nes of the 

tualJy get a Peerage , 6a . . . 

Piano-playing-N's gdc of playmg 7 

Jealous. 36. 848 

‘^me Curious Butterflies , 34 
Supenuuons, 343 

a h«.b.od-. .pon. u O. 

S« houk. dH; 

York, 269; teles**'" Sutton on N 
u .. TT. 119: annoyed oy 
STMnriasm of ^urchilL 324: 


925 



husbind’s tnbute CO. 3'5i; .. 

him to Canada, 382; ducuibed _at 
nimoun of his health, 3995 her social 
acnvidei at Sutton Place. 406; iBnesi, 
421 ; husband’s tribute to, 333 5 his gift on 
selling Sutton Place lease, 379. 
hospiul for ofiicen, 686; insulted in 
T7ie Taller, 7575 telegram to husband 
on alleged New York interview, 803; 
joins him at Cap d’Ail, 829; at Eman 
during his last illness, 


Pearce, Dr (Hong Kong), 813 

Peassos. Sir Cyril Arthur— sends wedding 
present to N., 775 wins Tit-BiU cotn- 
petidon, 86, 142; biographical sketch; 
introduces mbsing words competition, 
t4tfl; N’s meetings with. 143; publishes 
the Sunday Rtader. 138; compares his 
position in Fleet Street with N $229; 
connection with negotiation for change 
in control of T.T., 30# becoiMS 
neariy blind, 43*5 


uu appointment 

port Committee, 3235 his Victory Over 
Bhndntis, 735; death, 819 
Pearson’s Weekly, 141/ ^ , 

Peart, Robert (Araic explorer). 163 
pEEt, Mis C S. (DJlf.), 799 
Petican, The, 82 . . x. 

Pemberton, Alfred— first mectmg with N.. 
236, N. sends him to Canada, 417. 
wntes of N's incense patriotism, 479 
Peubebtoh, Max, 18, 43. 

440. 387. 639. 66a.. 8«): cyd* 
with N., 335 in lodgmgs with N., 30, 
visiu George Newnes with N., 33. 3*5 
buys fust copy o{ Answers, 82;_becomn 
su roving reporter, 83, W5 viats Paw 
with N., 274; views on N 1 health ui 
1909, 339: in Scotland with N., 

744; N’s help in founding Lpiwm 
School of Journalism, 748; lurtled by 
change in N's health, 833 
Pennv dreadfuls— N ’s comic papers as 
counter to, usff> 167, 268 
Penny P.ctprfaJ— surted by N.. 237 
People’s League of Health— N 1 gift to, 774 
Pebcy, Lord Eustace, 343. 347. 397 
pcBEORMDis animals— N’s attitude to, 794 


0 Civil Aerial Trans- 


Notes and Queries, 73. 73® 

Notes, Alfred, 417. 343 

Observer, The, 364. 3715 bought by N.. 2915 
sold to V/aldorf Astor, 414 
O’CoNNQB. Lord Justice— advises N. on 
Insh aEairs, 613 

O’CoNNOa. T. P.. 168/, 227. 284. 668 
Oats, Adolph (New yarfe Times). 34' 
QuPHAKT, Rev. F. J. (Woking), 333 
OuvER, P. S.— views on N't work in 
Amelia, 3995 describes N. as ’a poor 
turnip’. 696 

Olymsic games— N. dis cl aims interest in. 

^ 

Onslow, Lord. 402 
Oracle, 72 

OutM, Sir WUiuffl, 876 
OsLER, Sir William, 673 
Outinj (American sporting journal). 73. 74. 

Outlook, 77i<, 778 
Overseas Qub. 432 
Overseas Daily Mail (1904). 24J. *87 
Overseas League, 322, 397 
Owen, Louise (pcnonal secretary), 284 
Owen, Lkul-CoL W. H. (Dniisb Wat 
Mission), 36s 

PAnES£wa3.Jean, 230, 323,327, 549.720 
Pace, Walter Hines— suggests N. as 
ambassador at Washington, 439; tri- 
butes to N., 330, 338 
Paget, lady Arthur. 728 
Paustinb — N’ s views on, 843 
Pall Mali Casrtu (l863-S92)), S69 
Pandora Publishing Company— {bunded 
1890; merged in Harmswoim Stothen 
Ltd.. 216 

Paseer. B. (Cvaiing \ews), 809 
Pasr, Arthur. 770 
PADiEscOfR— N’t intercM in, 438 
Patdn, Dt. J. D.— report on juvenile 
papers, 116 

pAtruiAN, Louis— alntude Sight record, 373 
PsACoat.E.E..29t 


Pesuodical Publishing Corporation L^ _ 
fonned in 1891. »28J:, «i«eed » 
Hamuworth Ctothers Ltd . 216 
Perrier Water— business acquired by St. 

John Harmtworth (j.v.) 

Persiuhc, General— N’s meeting vnth. 628 
Pet AIN, General— N’t meeting with. 483 
Petit Journal (Paris}— N. talks with pr«>- 
pnetor, I77 

Pbcladelphia Public Ledier— comment on 
New York ‘interview’, 804 
Pmmps, C. J. (Foreign Office), 631. 636 
Phi Mt Up, 144, 230 
Pictorial Newspaper Co. Ltd., 281 

Plefor/al Sorirty— N. contnbutes to, 69 

Pine, Harry ^’s ebaufleur). 803, 821 823. 

Huelf^Liif^ piarmiworth publiauon). 

t6o 

Poincare, M., 760, 87J 



PoiE, F. R., 276 
Potmj, A. H. {D.M.), 210, 534 
PooiE, R. (solicitor), 796 
Pope, Wilson (T/i« Star), 736 
Pi^Hlar lFirei«j, 858 

POSTSMOUTH — N. stands as Parliamentary 
candidate, 181J 

Post Office workers — N’s sympathy for, 99 
Powys, Rev. and Hon. E. V. R.— engages 
N. as secretary-companion, 43^: c^ 
nates at N’s w edding, 77 
‘PoY* (Evening Nfifi cartoonist), 844 
Price, H. G. (N’s secretary), 3J9, J45. 35*. 
483. 333. 3fil. 387. M. 704, 741. 733 . 
747. 806, 810, 817. 818, 823, 8*4. 827. 
833. 837, 860, 866, 867, 869. 879 
Price, Mrs. H. G., 811, 822, 837 
Price, Dr Philip Seymour, 393. 399. 4>'S. 
433. 738, 76<5. 833. 843; in attendee 
durmg N'l last illness, 864^^; denies 
certification of insanity, 873 
Pshdeaux, C G , 4* 

PaiNCB of Wales’s Fund— N. contributes to. 

349. 46« . . 

Printing trade labour— Ns attitude to, 
<SJ4. 731. 77a. 773. 776. 830. 839 
PsiOLEAu, John— accompanies N. " ’ 
tour, 803, 821, 823, 824. 83b 
Prison life— N ’s interest in, 88, 13^. 

190. 367. 813 . 

Private Schaelmaster (Answers Company;, 

Propaganda— N orthcUffie'i belief in, 
suggesu campaign to Sir John Ffwen 
in Sept. 1914. 4<58. plRn approved by 
Plslg. 303; urges need for in Amenca. 
330, 331, 33*: N. 

under Budian, 331; appointed Duec'or 
of Propaganda in Enemy Countnes. 
'■ 612J'; refuses to work under DMver- 

brook, 614, his work at Crewe House, 
624J, 673 J; U.C 

ping aeroplanes, 649. ^3*. 

638. 668; tribute to N. by 


INDEX 

iWi— remark of N’s as capDon for pic- 
ture 23; skit on N’s world tour, 801 


n world 


Mitchell, 637; N. wntei 


y Uiuted 


States Se’eretatV of State. 667; 

German trench newspaper; ex-KRU” 
and Ludendorff’s testimony to Wcim 
of N’s campaign, 669 : — J 
Crewe Hause (CampbeU Stuart). *37 
PlOTMEBO, G. W. (Quarlerir 
Pryor, S.J. (D. Af.), 2«o; !«»''« 

Egress; edits TTie Tril-Hn<. *»»: at l . i .. 
210. 349. 333. 383. 408. 430. ^ _ 

Public relations officers— N's amtiide to, 

1 ‘ulitSr. J. (New York IVorlJ). 366, 30*, 

422; 748 

927 


Queen, T/ie— rejects N’s contribuuons. 44 
Quen'es (American journal), 7* 

Q .mm- Couai, Sir A., 397 

Rai«i. Julian— war reporter m S. Africa. 

Jluflsfctoi ^Tlir (Harmsworth publication), 

223 

RAiHENAU,HertvTO,7i3 

Raihou, J. R- (U.S.A.), 646 

Raven Dr (Broadstairs). 217 _ . . 

r 1 S)nd. E. T.-edit$ Ei'et.in^ SKmdarl 

R^Sl, eIi of (Bofo" 

^el m lovir Ibd Qk. 304; mvolvcd o. 
Moroni "S 

for hii services during war. $64.^6 
George’s amrude, 370; amyal m New 
York welcomed by N., 37^. 377. 3 . 
to work m Amenca 38B. 389: urged 

India, 830 . — V 

RerreeriPB (Carr and Co.), 69 

724 

'™r5o2n.M7^«7,3«.«4 

Defence Society, «8 

Minister, 627 

Rich. Thomas. 28 

lucH«om. MO ^ 

at Peace Conference, 682 


S;rS2nP.»(r.T.).79S 

Robbins. Sir E., 601 

Robbins, Gordon (T.T.). 868 



Rowan. Lofi *03- 424. 4^9 
Roeunos, Sir WiUum-N’* atn^ to 
political interference with, jo8, 309, 
uter opinion of. 6io. 6J3, 636 

RoBuinos Scott. J. W.. 739 

Robins— N’ t eSbtu to leclunaiiac American 
ipedcs, 336. J40. J70. J72. 4*5 
ROBLNSOS. G.— friend of hT* father, 42 
Robissos. Geoflrey: see Dai* son. Geoff^ 
lUiBSON. IL T. (Uncish War Miuion). 561 
Roe. a. V.— wins pme in D.Ai. model 
aeroplane eompetitioo, 301 
Rous, Hon. C. S., 27* . 

R.OUS*Roycb motor cart— fvi intetcit in, 
438. 439 

RoosEVUT, "nicodofe, 303. 344 
Rose. Mme Clemence. 782. 8«« . 

RosEBEST, Earl oC 620, 621; neighbour trf 
N’t in Berkeley Square, 220, 221; N. 
proposes him as head of Free Trade 
movement. 289; «P«th “a 
dangers (:909}. 1^9 
Ross, Noel (T.T.), 603 
RosuYH, Earl of— N. help* him start 
SreiiuA Ufi, 24i; accompaiue* N. to 

Paris. 374 

ROTtUMTUN. Stf W.. 123 

ROTitEUttU. Vucount (Harold Harms* 
lAUtth: N't brother). 21. 23. 40. 4>8; 
edueauon 64: ovil servant, 92, 94*. 
joins Ansviett Company, Ud.. 92; 
shyness, 931 g‘v«*' ‘hares in Antwen 
^oipany, 102: advises N. to buy 
Umwuod, 118. suceessful management 
of Annms. 144^; dufetenccs with N., 
147; iiutruge. 148; compUinf about 
war-theme serial, 131; urges N. to stop 
5unZ>y Ccvrijunion, 13S; criOciKS An- 
fuYTS, 1O3: makes Oder fur EJV., I7>< 


NORTHCUTFB 

oBice, 613; resigns as Secretary 0^“'® 
for Air. 636, 637; criticism of Ircn- 
diird. 638; his atneude to editors, 69^ 
fails to sell provincial papers; to be 
made a Viscount. 696; views on resig- 
narion of Dawson. 699; endeayo^ to 
make peace between N. and PniM 
Munster, 713; N. asks him to help 
T.T. finsnrid department, 7t9; “>8* 
Rests increase in newspaper pnees, 772; 
worned about possible war-wealth 

levy, 773; refuses post as First Lord. 
783; relations with N., 7*6: action m 
alleced New York interview; urges N. 
to «t nd of Steed, 803; clash with 
S tffil , ga8; N. wntes of his ‘moaning 
about money again*. 8345 
N. on printers* wage demands, 838, 
N't critical attitude to, 839: economy 
and cuiting.down measures ptsstm 
RoTiisaniD. Lord— advises policy of nw- 
uahty in 19U. 462. 463; ‘tibute to N.. 


RowizY, Annie R.— joins Cart and Co., 67, 

Rowmui, Anhur— cnnaici T.T. policy 
iftl9U.4'83 , . 

RorAtGeoEraplueaISooetY,4«» , 
RoTAt Hibernian MiUury School, Dublin, 


RoYCS, F. IL, 438. 600 .. • % 

ROYDtN, Sir T. (Dfioih War Mission), 
S<>o, 381 

Rudce, Miss (D-W.), 800 
RVSSE22. Sit Charlev— view* 
health. 832 


N*! 


Salvt Joseph’s Hospice for the Dymg-N’i 
iinrs. 103; tni2cs oner tot luv, I7S. gift to, 872 , , _ , 

yp.. Glasgow Daify R/urJ. 18I; St. Paul’s Cathedral— 
fliuncial sucrcss. lives as Notih End pmter (1894) showing atta j 

airaaft, 139 

Sala. George Augustus, 44 
SAinauaY, Lord-speech on German 

danger ' . . . wme act of madness , J**' 
attitude to journalists. 022 
Saevahon Army, N't interest in. I37. >19- 


House. Hampstead, 328; asksN. t< 
out altogether, 33O. pnDrip4 orginucr 
of Angl^NewfoundUnd Devetopmeot 
Company, 293. urges N. to work less, 

393. 447: created Uarooet, leUs OJtL 
shuts. 397: founds professorship of 
En^ish Literature at Cambridge. 39T. 

'a pariKulaily obstinate and detennined 
man* (N.). tees, tires of Amslgsmated 
Prrss lespomibdiues, 428; iauoducuoi* 
in House of Lords. 432; in charge of 
army clothing departments, 323: N. 289 

urges lus appointment as bead of Sassoon, Sir P., 3®^ 5®*!^**’ 

Uniish Wat Misuon, 329; oden to SAUNOLas, George (T.T. Berua 
ta^ over N’l post in AmeiWa, 370, pondeut). 327, 3371 coticspon- 
jEo; becomes Air Minuter. 398; dent. 408 
alleged talk ou N. taking Cabuict SAVACsOub, 2d, 224 
9Z8 


SAMUti, Sir Herbert a^gh Comini*- 
sioner in Palestine), 8ld, 846 
SANowTQiMirr— use by N.. 73 
Satt. Arka* (JW Sweet Home), 248. 279. 



INDEX 


Scorr, Clement, 244 

Scott, C.P. {Manchester Guardian), S9*>T9° 

Scorr, J. W. Robertson, 759 

Scott, Captain R. F., 390 

Scott, Willie {Answers), 109 

Scott-Montcrieft, C. (secretary), 770 

SfoHijJj Life (Rosslyn), 262 

Selbosnb, Lord, 439 

SaFRiDCE, Gordon, 799 

Seus, Albert M.— German relative of N., 

27, 491, 4s»2 

Seymour, Dr C. (U.S.A.). J84 
Sharp, Clifford (NTem SfotesHian), 644, 8J5 
Sharp, William — part in negotiations for 
change in ownership of T.T., 314» 3*5 
Shaw, Miss Flora (later Lady Lizard)— on 
staff of T.r., 260 

Shaw, George Bernard — comment on 
publication of D.M., 219 
Sheldraxe, T. S. — at school with 34. 37 

Sheu. shortage (1914-18 war), 47%9« 

Shorter, Clement, 179, 667, 737 . 
Shuttieworth, George (compositor), 81. 
,83 . 

Simon, Sir J.— suggests suppression ot 
D.Af., 489; N’l paragraph ia Weekly 
Dispatch, 666 
SiMS, G, R., 233, 263 
SwoNa,H,,ao7 

Sisley, Charles— starts first halfpenny iHus- 
ttated paper, X33 ... 

Sixty Years a Queen (Harmsworth pubhM- 
tion), 230, 239, 294 

Sktuh, The (Ingram)— uses metal process 
bbcki, 179 

Slang— N’s dislike of. 347. 617 
Slogcett, Gen. Sir A., 301, 303. 31*. 
Slouch war depot, 731, 739 
Smues, Samuel — message to Tire SumUry 
Companion, 158 . 

Smtih, F. E.: see Bdixeniiead, Earl of 
Smith, Fred— ‘cyclist poet’, 63 
Smith, Septimus, }}, 39, 60 
Smith, Valentine (circulation manager. 

TTjeOfcsfn'er), 371, 373 
Smith, Wareham (advertiang manager, 
DJVf.), 259. 432, 773. 847 
Smith, W. H. &: Sons, 237. 34^ . 

Smuts, General J. C.— writes to N. about 
propaganda m America, 383 
Snoao, Harold (secretary). 484. 78d. 803; 00 
world tour with N., 820, Saa. Say. 8*4 
Society, 33 

Sot, Dr (Cap Marim), 69a 
SoLM, Hcrx (Gcnniii oculist). 3^4 
Soui/imi Daily .V/aif— bought by bl., 

l8l_^: liquidated, 187. apd _ 

SPASRES. AsUey (Bntish War Mission), yea 


Rjv. C. W.— supervises Answers 

competition entries. 144 . 

Spender. J. A. aSp; views on T.T. Irish 
policy. 819 - 

Smiouisu-N'i .mmd. to, J44 
Spottiswoodb, Hugh, 291 

W«hmBton). S7‘. oppoofion to N . 

House, 656 . __ 

“jj r? M™o“ fond, «II 

appointment, 3*3 

StanieT. H. M.. 49 

&:TiUd.«,'d-»t.od’H. 
cycle ftanw. 36 Wesiminsicr 

National Theatre project, 333 . 

T^ioreipt Department, 

ttatement on Gove P ^ 

ri,taV.tdonmthN^4W__;j 

home from America, 

p-p= 

^work at 
ceeds Dawson 

his message to N.. 7W Coniuicn^'** 

with to N. about 

D,iily ‘'^‘“'’.^VadungtonEmb^y. 

beingnamedfor b 

7^=^'irro £ at «bc top’t.bi* 

it ought to « relations 

relations with N-. 7 ^f„ence. 

»jch N. during i eace 

J.O, fit "(.S’iritO 'hot 

atuck w N-. 7^3' jfj J j:ii your 

much I mly ° plans fot 

intuiuon’. 730; jiiwt r.T. 

Steed. 731; ^ 


929 



INDEX 


desite to own {1901), 268; empowers 
Blumenfeld to make offer for, 271; 
approaches Walter family, historical 
note, 3065"; negotiations for acquiring 
control, 3o8_f; secret codeofcommuni- 
cation between principals, 313; N. 
becomes X, 313; identity kept secret, 
316, 318; N's intentions for future, 
329. 334. 335. 3<5o, 379; his relations 
with Walter firmly, 330: hints at 
possible transfer of his interest, 379, 
618, 788; death of Arthur Walter, 392; 
effects of death of Mobcrly Bell, 413; 
purchase of Kennedy Jones’s shares and 
disposal of them, 427; anxious that 
control reverts to Walter family, 699 
Advertisements — N's attitude to, 777, 781 
Board Room — N. calls attention to state 
of, 395; gives instructions for improve- 
ment, 707 

Book Qub, 307, 381, 405, doo 
Editorial c^ngcs, 427; Dawson reugns, 
698; Steed appointed, 699; Lloyd 
George rumours, 880 
Fmanees, 359, 378, 428; N. authoriaes 
large expendicure on new machinery, 
321; adrmci responsibility for adding to 
expenses, 354, 382 

History-^N'i luiowledge of, 35<S, 451 
Independence — N's comment on, 411 
Irish policy, 777, 818, 819 
Light leading articles— N’s request for, 
448 

Makeup. 380 

Photographic department, 455, 852 
Phrases relating to— ‘Abandon scope all 
ye who enter here' (N., 1909), 35?; 
‘An entirely independent and imper- 
sonal organ’ (N., 1909), 360; '1 am a 
most unwilling controller (N., 1922), 
834; ‘I am responsible ... for the entire 
pohcy’ (N., ipaa). 830; 'I haveno gold 
mine idea of T.T.' ^., 1909), 336; 
'1 know now that I ought not to have 
undertaken the task’ (N., 191 1), 408; 'I 
shall leave the editor unrestricted con- 
trol unless . . . ’ (N., 1908), 337;; *1 was 
always endeavouring to buy T.T. (N., 
•909), 364; 'is merely my hobby’ P'1., 
1911}, 329; ‘is not aninstnmtcnCofgaiD 
but of good govemmcnc’ P'1 , 1919), 
742J 'It is now or never’ P^., 192a), 844; 
'Its good organization' (N., 1919), 
749; 'Never stood in higher esteem 
. . . than under your [Danson’i] 
editorship’ (N., 1919), 699; 'Ogre of 
Printing House Square’ P'1., sgij), 
485; ‘Prosperity and induence . . . 


wcHiderful’ (N., 1919), 723; 'The 
Tunes men . . . did not make foolish 
mistakes . . . because they knau/' (N,, 
19*9). 70*: 'We are going to make a 
fortune' , 1922), 869; ‘Which I 
did not want’ (N., 1909), 363; ‘You 
[N.l have reformed T.T. m a week’ 
(BcU. 1911), 408. '[N’sl labours . . to 
save this great institution’ (John Walter, 
1911), 437 

Price dianget — reduced to 2d. (t9l3), 
440; to id. (1914). 452, 453. [lid. in 
1916: 2d. m 1917: 3d. in 1918], from 
3d. to lid. in 1922, 833, 834 
Printing Supplement (1912), 437 
Red Cross fund (1914-1918), 471 
Salaries — N's interest in, 333 
Sign over whole of front building — 
ordered by N., 74a 

Sub-cditing — ‘nothing like it in the 
whole world' (N., June, 1918), (S46 
Summery— first (^y paper, published 

by T.T., 204 

Westminster Abbey fund, 771 
Women staff— N’s thought for, 643 
Thomas, Albert (Frenu Minister of 
MuniQons), 31] 

Thomas, Sir W. Beach, 338 
Thomas, J. H., 394, 704 
Tbomtsoh, a. M. (D.M.), 603, 679, 681 
Thomson, Charles H. (U.S.A0 , £84 
Thomson, Sandy ^olf professional), 400, 
841, 839. 863, 864, B66 
Tir-B»ff (Newnes), 33, 33, 87, 88; Ansurrs 
the first opposition to, 88; introduces 
free railway insurance, 90; imitates 
Astswers, 91 

Tbac, Mmd Andree de (Paris staff of 
D.Af.), 630, 697, 718 

Tod, Dr Hunter (tlixoat specialist), 707, 
720. 766 

Tovchstonb’— contnbutor to Efenin^ 
News, 482 

TowNiEY, Houghton (Com/c Cuts), II3, 
288 

TowNSHEND, Gen. Sir C., 6S7 
Tracy, Louis, 168, 388. 638; on staff of 
The Sun, 168, 170: manager of 
Evening Kewr, sells shares to Harold; 
becomes novelist, 173 
Treb. Sir Herbert Beerbohm, 243 
TNENOiAAD, Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh, 
«3«, 637 

Trrtes, Sir Frederick— prescnbei N, ‘a 
bromide course’, 783; 'mth N. at 
Evim, 873 

Tniune, The (1906), aio. 3o£ 
rntth. 304 


93 * 



NORIHOUTB 


Tlohy, F. (DM.). 469 

TURNta, A. (editor, Evening News), 639 

UnionJ<uk (Haniuworth publication), 130, 

131, 167 

Uniteo Sutes of America: — 

Bnash War Mission (Balfour). 

British Wat Mission (Northcii^), 
NorthclifTe— first visit to, iCt; viut sn 
190S, 3315, 338; takes char^ of TTv 
IVerld (New York) for one day, 266ff. 
warns mother articles on him ‘invented’. 
269, invited to become naturabacd. 
333; asked by Lloyd Geotge to become 
ambassador, 328; received by Presideot 
Wdsott, 3*2: concerned about Ameri- 
can requisitioning of British slups, 
374. 373; warning to Lloyd Geotge 
about Anglo-American reladoos, 393; 
good relations 'the chief interest in my 
life*, 663i writes ‘reladoru in a very 
delicate position', 683, (S8i; secures 
interview Ss-ith Wilson 10 France 
£84; suggested by Auchinloss at best 
man for ambassador. 707; wntes to 
Lord Grey of Fallot on telauona, 
749i Lord Grey's reply, 731; suggests 
American depaninencac ^reignOtiitt. 
733; Kceived by President Harding. 
804 

President Wilson— views on peace- 
making. Ji6, 373; hia atdtuM to 
Balfour, 327, attitude to Nonhcldfe, 
Sioff. visit to Europe, 668, 684 
Universal £neycli>p«dia (Amalgamated 
Press), 674 

Vaiiitj Fair— cartoon of N., 184: N. tnes 
to persuade Hildebrand to take over, 
29a 

Volapuk JmrmiJ, Tite (Carr and Co.), 69 

W41K, Louis, 236 
WAurnxo, Or RusseU. 498 
Wakzhiuj, RusseU (Senetary), 406, 407, 
44d. 437. 484 

WaS£S. Prince of— viuu N. at Sutton 
Place, 780 

WamET. A. B. (T.T.). 346 
Wmiace, Edgar, 331. a6a, 370, 830 
Wauaci, Hugh (U.SA.), 3I4 
WAlTta, Arthur Fraser— dtniesnegorianons 
foe ule of T.T. (l9aa), 271; part m 
negotutiom leading to intioductua of 
N, joiff, death, 39a 

WaS-TT*. Hubert— T-T. corrrspondent in 
Berlin. 389 

Wastuu John— Northchffe’t attitude to. 


360, 392, 393, 408; differences denied, 
450; congratulates N. 011 prosperity of 
T.T., 686; comment on cb^ge of 
editorship, 701; N, wntes on his 
nnswervmg support, 743; writes to N. 
on proposal to sw block of shares, 777; 
proposed sale of interest to N.; N. 
Ot&H him life chairmanship of com- 
pany. 867# 

WAtrES, Stephen (T.T.), 733 
Wak Aims Committee. 648. 649 
Wat Illustrated (Amalgamated Press), 674 
Ward, Edwin (portrait painter), 223 
Ward, Herbert— friendship with N., 49, 
301, 222, 732; death, 746 
Warden, W. L. (Continental Daily Mail), 
863 

Warwick, Countess of. 243 
WAuntiRN, Stanley (717*.), 66}, 678 
Waters. James (D-Vf.). 600 
Watnev, Charles (D.M.), 349; joins 
Evening TimeSt 370 
Watson, A- E, T., 349 
Watson, Sir WiUiam, 323 
Watts. C. F., 244 
Wearoaia, Lord, 739 
* Weart Walls and Tued Tim*— <haractc« 
mC6ips,ij6 I 

WmER. Byron, 4*7 

WCBSTIA, Tom— hTs instruetionj on hit 
cartoons, 717 

Weekly Budget (Henderson), 43 
Weekly Dnparrii— purchased by N., 277> 
N. replaces emtor, 341; cntirized by 
N., 324, 774; N't treatment of sub- 
editor at Qmwood, 619 
Weir. Sir Wilham, 668 
Weizmann, Dr Chami, 846 
WctKjRD, A-lrs W., 63 
Wells. H. G.— joins Henley House School 
st^ 34, 120; uses N- as schoolboy 
editor in The New Afothidvefl/, 38; 
contnbutes to Answers, 83; suggests 
N. creates ‘new vernacular Press' in 
India, 397; views on Cabinet in I9ld. 
499; views on Spring-Rice's quahfica- 
ticmi in America, 331; urges N, to 
uie hold of whole propaganda situa- 
tion, 648; in charge of German section 
at Crewe House, 646^. resigns from 
Crewe House. 633; N. visits at Dun- 
mow, T74 
WEST, Rebecca, 7a i 

IPestem Morning A'ews— purchased by 
Leicester HaHnsw’octh, 773 
WaTMiNSTta Abbey— N’t services to, 347. 

349. 771; N't funeral service la, 806 
HVnmiKitrr Cazale (Newnes), 198, 479 


932 



INDEX 


IVhttl Ufc (tUHc). 58 
IVlietling, )S, 97 

WiosuY. QuiIm, 22j; Accoropiniei N. to 
St. Rapluel. 392; 2nd to Piru, 431 
WjdE, GMrge (Bvenwg Newi), 788 
WinriEN-Bsoww. Sir A. (ivutor), 733 
WiCKENS, H2nn2h (N’« grindmother) — 
Seiler uid to be of royal blood, 4, 3 
WvcKAii, Titvoi (SpCTiiHj Lift), 432, 433 
Wile, F. W. {D_W. Derlln corrnpoadmt). 
397. 443. 434: Vbtitet to N. on Anglo- 
phobia in Cernuny, 301; Germans 
press for lut removal, 327; intervie>s-t 
Admiral von Tirpitz, 332, N. com- 
missions him to «nte Our Ctrmm 
Cousins, 390; interview’s Count Deni- 
scorC 432; w-ntei 'Explauung the 
Uritish* for Amencaii readers. 6d2 
WtUEBT, Sir Arthur— T.T. Washington 
coneipondent, 332, 342, 346, 330. 373. 

386.608.703.739 

Wuu&ML, Mrs L— N’t gift to, 336 
WoLUMS, Valentine {DJit), 713. 723; N’t 
gift to. 830 

WaUAMS, Wythe (U.S.A.]. 673 
WimsoK, Sir J. (T.T.). 49S 
WUUON, 13eeUes— p^ author of Th* 
5l<x< of Portsmouth, 182: editor of 
Honwofth .Mj/aainr, 236 
Wuisav, Leslie (health specuLst). 343. 386 
WOMOT— fasuly name of Lady North- 
clide’t mother. 31 
WusoN, A. J. (deaf cyclist). 6a 
WiuoN, Henry. 46$. 312; Mdoer's 
opinion of, 634 

WasoN, IL W. (DA/.). 3«9. 33«. 337. 407. 
423. 423. 474. 487. 37». 39S. 678. 762. 
782, 7S6;8 jj. 848.833 
Wilson, Dt McNair (T.T.). 467. 663. 7«« 
'VatMAS, Sir Wilhsm. 327; N's opuuoo of 
us Amersca. 343: aiuiude to N't woik. 
330. 376, 377; purroicl of visj to 
Ltxid^ 372; u-nscs to N. about peace 
negooititxn. 608 
Wotr, Lucko, 371. 432 


U'eRUR (edited by Arnold Beimect). 129 
Wosum's suHrage — N* s attitude to. 3 17. 3 1 S 
tt'enJtr. The (Martnswortli publication), 
130 

Wood, Frederick — fhend of N’s fithcr. 8, 
70, 94: N. invites him to stay, 104; 
speaks at Sylvan Debaung Club on 
death of Alfred senior, 103, N. writes 
him on family a£nn, 140, and irom 
233: N's allowance to, 262; 
visits Sutton Place, 274: death, 303: N's 
allowance to his suicr, 778 
Wood, Gen. Leonard, 628 
Woods. J. W. (Dtituh Mission), 360 
3F«rlru^ Afan's FnenJ (1S30), 33 
IVortJ, The — N. icquires control, 291 
WorU, The (New York)— N. takes ciiarge 
for one day. 266^ 

l{'«fU anJ Hts Wije, The (liarmsworth 
publication). 1^ 

WoeiuY, Mrs A. S.. )02 
WuNCU, Evelyn, 293. 341. 724. 73i; 
first mceung with N., 273; edits 
Ovnseu Daily Af.n/, 28S; rwponubte 
for UraiUe ediuon of D.U. 301; post 
at Amalgamated Press, 334, 394. 4Ctt 
as senctary to N, 322; vieus on N’l 
health, 339; accompanies N. on viut to 
Canada and United States, 382; 
aeatrs Ovenea League, 397; dif- 
ferences with N.. 432 

Waicirr. iCathanoe (sister of Wright 
bro^n), 466. 387 

WusMT brothen^yuig expenmenu. 
324^*. 467. 498; N. visits Omllc m 
America. 3S7 

Yans. Edmund, 164 
Velleie Hxi, The, 129 
VovNC. 33. W, 68. 166. 294 
fWki (I lenJenoa), 43 
Vvunjf Foik’t Teles, 43 
VovNcta. Sir C.— N's atutude to, 680, 6$I. 

m 

YousM (Ingrams). 46. 48, 49 


9J3 



zt 


•pai 3 joj jou pjnoa ‘Xftddcrjun ‘put 
«333 o3joj 30« pEi{ pdnd p{0 siH 'juaunmodde jo pup[ jai^jonc Siipnws 
tn dpt^ aoj mpi 03 parjdd? uosmy^ ’A3>£ sip usi^ai siued suip y 
■cjn|3 ^sXog p]o Jo Aouspissjd sip psjdsosB pui: ‘ sszud ijwoAismwfj, 
JO jsquinu t pspunoj ‘jooijos sijj jo poiusAOQ SApndo-oo^ t pspsp sq oj 
jpsuinj psAioyp isitj sq 'qdumiii jo snns « oj upi SuiaiS sdci{is<j 'ojq scq 
JO sKsX. issiddExpm oau 3i\l sb 30 spi^AUsijt sq jn^AVjo ^oiuaui 
sqj xun{ ipiAi Sup^cq ‘8^8^ J^ununs sip ci poips aip jjaj oh .‘UAiog 
z ipUA popnop seAi ootj spqoui sth, isinsraidjip autos paAioqs aq 
‘oStDiq^ xn qaiu ‘AAOjjojjooqos pjc^ums pjo ut Xq aojt] qi jo popuiiuoy 
•psqoBqqc saaM soiutuqoiu urmoqpTQ luoipvs oj sXoq jo dnoiS t jo 


aimDmxoK 



Mrs Charles Harmsworth, nee Hannah Carter, NorthchfFc’s 
grandmother. A photograph taken in 1863 




chapter Three 


The Young Freelance 




Becoming a day boy at a typical small strugcline private school of tlic 
period, Henley House, St. John’s Wood, Alfred Harmsworth entered 
on what may have been a first vital identifying phase in his life, though 
again it showed lus intelligence working more effectively outside me 
classroom than in it. He was thirteen, and to the point almost of mental 
distress he could not then, or after, give his mind to matters which did not 
interest him in a primary seme, tal^g his attention at once. Arithmetic, 
for example, bored him exceedingly and he would allow himself to be 
defeated by its simplest exercises and problems, cheerfully risking con- 
sequences which, it IS true, were less dire at Henley House than they would 
have been at Stamford School. ‘All mathematics were a sore trial to him’, 
one of liis masters svrotc in after years. His best subjects were spelling 
and composition. 

He lud not needed formal sdiooling to develop the penetrating power 
of observation wliich ss’as one of his more remarkable characteristics. 
Cecil Harmswortli believed that hb brother's exceptional alcrmcss of eye 
and car was m some degree trained by the ‘memory game’ which they 
often played at home, Eacli member of the family ss*ai required to go out 
of the room, wliilc tlic otliers rearranged the furniture and other objects 
in It. ’Alfred had an uncanny perception. *1110 booby traps we set for him 
always faded ridiculomly.' Cecil said tlut Alfred's power of perception 
sometimes astonished them by enabling Kim to detea s^miptoms of illness 
in advance of the patient’s knowledge ofir. 

Henley House School was in Mortimer Road, Kilbum, an address 
exalted by new boundary' arrangements into Mortimer Crescent, St. John’s 
Wood. T^c propnetor and headmaster was a shy and lisping Aberdeen 
man. jolm Vine Mdne. Widi his brother Alexander, he lud taken over 
the decrepit goodwdl, valued at j^JOO, of a school prcsnously conducted 


33 




chapter Three 


The Young Freelance 


Becoming a day boy at a typical small struggling private school of the 
period, Hcnlcv House, St. John’s Wood, Alfred Harmsworth entered 
on what may have been a first vital identifying phase in his life, though 
again it showed lus intelligence working more effectively outside Ae 
classroom than in it. He svas thirteen, and to the pomt almost of mental 
distress he could not then, or after, give his mind to matters which did not 
interest him in a primary sense, taking his attention at once. Arithmetic, 
for example, bored him exceedingly and he would allow himself to be 
defeated by its simplest exercises and problems, cheerfully risking con- 
sequences which, it is true, were less dire at Henley House than they would 
have been at Stamford School. ‘All mathematics were a sore trial to him’, 
one of his masters wrote in after years. His best subjects were spelling 
and composition. 

He had not needed formal sdtooling to develop the penetrating power 
of obsers-ation wliich svas one of his more remarkable characteristics. 
Cecil Harmsworth believed that his brother’s exceptional alertness of cj-c 
and car was in some degree trained by the memory game which they 
often played at home. Each member of the family \\-as required to go out 
of the room, while die odicn rearranged the furniture and other objects 
in it. ‘Alfred had an uncanny perception. The booby traps wc set for him 
ahva>-s failed ridiculously.’ Cecil said that Alfred’s power of perception 
sometimes astonished them by enabling him to detect symptoms of illnesj 

ui advance of die patient's knowledge of it. 

nenle>- House School was in Mornmer Road, Kilbimi. an addresj 
exalted by new boundary arrangements into Morrimer Cr«^it, St.Jobn’j 
Wood, flic proprietor and hcadnustcr was a shy and lisping Abcrdfcjj 
nun. John Vmc Milne. With his brodier Alexander, he had taken ovfr 
die decrepit gooduill. valued at /jioo. of a school pre\-iomIy conducted 

33 c 



NORTHCUFFE 

Acre end, mthout much improving its financial status, made 
Soul TcA academically an! socially. It was 

many of Ac boys svho had been at Ac Masses Budds . J. V Mttae wa a 
of schoolLstcr new to HannsworA. pattent, tolerant, gendy 
?Jnorous, encouraging hn pnpJs to five up to Ac best th« sms m Ay 
a master for svhom teaching was above all a vocation. H. a WcUywho 
after Harmsworth’s ttme, jomed Ac Henley “‘’“'Schoo staff, aid A« 
■uiAin Ac limits of his means and oppor^ty, Mr M^e was a vc^ 
successful teacher indeed'. WeA describes Ae stAool m bs 
Autohiosraphy, where he says that it was housed in two rather battered 
villas’. 


It drew its boys from the region of Maida Vale and St. John s Wood, the 
parents were theatrical, artistic, professional and business people who trora 
modves of economy or affeoion preferred to have their sons living at * 
. . . The playground was a walled gravelly enclosure that had once been tw 
back gudens. It was too small for anything but the most scuffling of games. 


Although Alfred Harmsworth showed no promise m the schoolroomi 
Milne thought him one of the brightest of his boys and the hanMomest. 
The good loolu were a recurring theme in all the recollections of his early 
yean. ‘Extraordinary beauty’; ‘fine eye and brow’; ‘the face of a young 
Apollo’; *a splcndid-looking chap’: masters and schoolfellows at Stamford 
and Henley House joined m agteement on that subject. If he 
precisely their Siccrfor th, most of the other boys were David Coppcrficlds 
in thcit admiration for Harmsworth, A. C W., known at Henley Home 
as ‘Ddly’, the fair-haired day boy with the forelock which he often had 
to shake away from his left eye and whose 3 it of effortless superiority was 
intimidating enough to gain him the captaincy of the school cricket and 
football teams, though he was not fini among them as a player of either 
game. The testimony of one of the hero-worshippers, a boy named 
Sheldrake, was that mthough Harmsworth was no match winner they all 
enthusiastically voted him into top place, which he filled as a natural 
leader rather than by prowess. An onlooker, seeing him play in a cricket 
match on the old Eton and Hanow ground now obliterated by EUs- 
worthy Road, London, N.W., made the remark that 'young Harmsworth 
looked as if he was not interested’. 

His fag at Henley House, a boy named Goodrich, wrote reminiscently: 
He was a pillar of the school, one of the giants among us. Timid and 
obedient then, 1 recall with what mingled pride and fear 1 obeyed his 
commands — carr^’ing his books, minding his bicycle.’ The bicycle was a 
wurcc of wider veneration; he had a half share in a 48-in. Coventry 
‘ordinary’ with a high front wheel and a smaller one behind. The cycling 


34 



THE YOUNG FREELANCE 


revolution was just over the rim of time. Alfred Harmsworth sensed its 
excitements and was winning new esteem by his uphill riding in and 
around St. John’s Wood; he and his bicycle, with its shining steel spokes 
and hub caps, became a legendary partnersfcdp in the school’s history. To 
his hard ridmg of the cumbersome ‘Coventry’ he owed the strong wrists 
of his manhood. It also brought him the admiration of a Merchant 
Taylor’s schoolboy, Max Pemberton, son of a Mincing Lane rice broker. 
The Pemberton family lived at 34 Clifton Hill, St. John’s Wood. Young 
Pemberton and Alfred formed a lasting friendship. They first met when 
Pemberton had a bicycle fall in Hamilton Terrace, near by. Alfred helped 
him to his feet and saw him home after the accident. 

The cycling boom whidi came with the invention of the ‘safety’ frame 
and pneumatic tyres was still a few years away, but already cycling clubs 
were raising clouds of dust along the highways and rivalling one another 
in smartness of turn-out and whatever was le dernier cri in fashions awheel. 
The club of which Alfred Harmsworth became the leader sported a 
uniform and one of the members carried a bugle for rallying purposes. 
Among his fellow riders were the sons of W. P. Frith, R.A., painter of 
‘Derby Day’, A. E, Stoddart, who became a famous athlete, and a son of 
John O’Connor, a Lyceum sccnc-painter. Theirs was the first generation 
to take to wheels in the popular sense. While the excitements of cycling 
seem tMid in the light of later experiments with speed, the bicycle then 
was a fascinating means of escape from the routine of travel as well as 
from work. At last the individual was free of tlie bondage of the railways 
and the annual swarming of the industrial masses to the sea. 

Soon after that first meeting, Max Pemberton and Alfred went on a 
club ride to St. Albans. They returned to St. John’s Wood at midnight. 
As they were dismounting, someone called out of the darkness: ‘Who’ll 
ride with me to Eastbourne?’ There were cries of remonstrance and jeer- 
ing. Two figures rode into the night for the journey of over fifty miles. 
One of them was Harmsworth. He and die challenger set off for the 
Sussex coast. At 4 a.m. they ran into thick fog and had to lie under a 
hedge near Uckfield. When daylight came they pressed on, reaching 
Eastbourne at ten o’clock. After a short rest, they rode back to London. 
Another of his journeys ^vas to Bournemouth and back. On some of 
these longer rides it svas his satisfaction to boast that he had not dismounted 
eti roKfe, rides often entailing uphill tests which may have been physically 
harmful. 


* * * 

Milne, the headmaster, recorded later that young Harmsworth was 
‘something of a puzzle’ to him. He had oamc to the conclusion that, for 


35 



NORTHCUFFE 

SSSSESgSg 

XlUtcr new to Hannswonh, patient, « /'“y 

hlotout, cncouiaging hs pupJa to Uve up to the belt that iMS m ttem, 
a nustcr for whom tcachmg was above all a vocation. H. G. Wells, vmo 
aftet Hatmtwotthh time, jLed the Henley 

hvithin the limits of his means and oppotmmty, Mr ”7 

sueeessful teacher mdeed'. Wells desmbes the school m his 
AiiulwSTcphy, where he says that it was housed m tsvo rather battete 
villas’. 


It drew itj bo\-s from the region of Maida Vale and St. John s Wood, 
pircnn were theatrical, arostic, professional and business people wh® *rom 
motives of economy or affection preferred to have their sons Uving at home. 
... The playground was a walled gravelly endosure that had once been tw 
bad: gardens. It was too small for anything but the most scuffling ot games. 


Although Alfred Hatmsworth showed no promise in the schoolroom, 
Milne diought him one of the brightest of his boys and the handsomest. 
The good looks were a recurring theme in all the recollections of his early 
years. ’Extraordinary beauty’; 'fine eye and brow’; ‘the face of a yo^g 
Apollo'; ‘a splendid-looking diap’ t masters and schoolfellows at Stamford 
and Henley House joined in agreement on that subject. If he 
pf edscly their Stccriorth, most of the other boys were David Coppcrfielas 
in their admiration for Harmsworth, A. C. W., known at Henley 
as ‘Billy’, the fair-haired day boy with the forelock which he often had 
to shake away from his left eye and whose ait of effortless superiority was 
intimidating enough to gain him the captaincy of the school cricket ^d 
football teams, thougli he was not first among them as a player of either 
game. The testimonv of one of the hero-worshippers, a boy named 
Sheldrake, was that although Harmsworth was no match wiimer they all 
enthusiastically voted him into top place, which he filled as a natural 
leader rather than by prowess. An onlooker, seeing lum play in a cricket 
match on the old Eton and Harrow ground now obliterated by Ells- 
wortliy Road, London, N.W., nude the tenutk that ‘young Harmsworth 
looked as if he was not interested’. 

His fag at Henley House, a boy lumed Goodrich, wrote reminiscently: 
‘He ss'as a pillar of the school, one of the giants among us. Timid and 
obedient then, I recall with what mingled pride and fear I obeyed his 
commands — catr)'ing lus books, minding his bicycle.’ The bicycle was a 
source of wider veneration; he had a half share in a 48-in. Coventry 
‘ordinary’ with a high front wheel and a smaller one behind. The cycling 


34 









NORTHCUFFE 


all the boy’s intelligence, he would never pass any examination containing 
arithmetic, which ruled him out as a candidate for the professions. Mibe 
had noticed how well Harmsworth expressed himself in written com- 
position, that he was better in that respat than the average schoolboy. 
He svas better read too. He knew his Dickens and was well acquainted 
with the works of Defoe, Smollett, and Oliver Goldsmith. He was now 
reading Thackeray. For those reasons, Milne gave his consent when 
Harmsworth came to him with a scheme foe starting a school magazine. 
‘He begged me to start it. When I told him I was too busy, he said: “Let 
me do It. sir. It shall give you no trouble.” ’ 

The first number of The Henley House School Magazine was published 
in March i88i. Under the title was printed the line; ‘Edited by Alfred C. 
Harmsworth’, who was not quite sixteen. It can be seen now as part of 
the emulating processes whioi drove the boy on to achievements that 
were to give him a place in history. Editors were men of importance, 
‘Mr Editor’ the presiding drity of Victorian journalism. The family 
friend, George Jealous of Hampstead, was editor of a paper which people 
took into their homes. His talk about local affairs, about council meetings 
and votes of confidence, was sometimes Lftcd to a level of higher interest 
for Alfred Harmsworth by his familiar references to Sala of the Daily 
Teleoraph, and others well known in the world of writing and print and 
pubucation. Mt Jealous was a great man to the young Harmsworths. He 
was impressive apart from his public status, with his local-preacher style 
of garb and his staunch and purposeful idealism. Going about his little 
journalistic affaits in North London, George Jealous was the pattern for 
a career far more notable than his own. 


The school magazine gave young Alfred his first smell of a printer’s 
ihop, che hot occupational attar of ink and oil and metal which perfumes 
a long tradiuon. The early issues were printed by a Kilbum printer 
named Ford who, with his two compositor sons, produced a small and 
unsuccessful local paper, TJje Kilhurn Post, at 5 High Road. Kilbum. 
Inke Jealous. Ford was an archetypal figure m young Harmsworth’s life, 
the craftsman who could compose one’ s thoughts and ideas into ordered 
rM%. the cxdtmg permanence of the printed page. The printed pages 
ot The Henley Hoiise School Magazine have a surprising freshness of appear- 
ance, a professional bloom which was doubtless supplied by Ford the 
pTOtcr, but which reflects also the eager assent of the very young editor. 
Milne, remembermg. said that Harmsworth was in his clement in die 
prmta s shop. He used to hurry off to Ford’s with his “copy” to super- 
intend operations there. Ford was profuse in promises but Harmsworth 
Juun^d the place imtil the printer, in desperation, got on with the usk- 
Uis boy of fifteen had found his hfc’s work’, and, incidentally, provided 
the model for the schoolboy editor named Cossington in H. G. Wells’s 


36 



THE ■yoUNG FREELANCE 


imposing Dr Whackem in “Birdiington Academy”, ’ said the Boys’ Own 
Paper. The role was not an uncongenial one, judging by an editorial note 
on school discipline in the magaane: ‘We regret that Harmsworth’s plan, 
committing the discipline of the school to a Committee of boys, is not 
yet elaborated on paper. He dirows out the idea, and leaves the very 
trifling details to be worked out by inferior minds.’ The mind of the editor 
of The Henley House School Magazine was stimulated to its best flights by 
extra-mural activities, as Mdne had discovered. The school holidays, for 
instance, were a more formative influence in Alfred Harmsworth’s life 
than the hours in class. Aware of his absorbed interest in producing the 
magazme, George Jealous gave him small holiday reporting jobs to do on 
his Hampstead & Highgate Express. It was an act of kindly encouragement 
that may have been decisive in helping him to identify has future with the 
profession which ultimately he would dominate. A minor effect of those 
brief exciting professional forays was that for him Hampstead and its 
history became a subject of abiding interest. ‘Hampstead — the spot which 
most of all I love. The place of ivkkh I never yet have tired.’ Ifit hardly inspired 
his best lyrical expression in the school magazine, his feelings about it 
remained sufficiently strong to draw him back there many times in the 
years of success and fame to visit scenes familiar to him as the schoolboy 
reporter. 

Mrs Jealous said that a chief attraaion of their home for ‘Sunny’ 
Harmsworth, as she always called him, was the variety of books, news- 
papers and periodicals that arrived at her husband's office. He used to 
bring them home and ‘Sunny’, visiting the house to get avray from ‘the 
others’, would draw his legs under him in an armchair and settle down to 
read them by the hour. She remembered him from those days as ‘silent 
and thoughtful’, and marvelled at ‘what was in him, all mysterious, all 
silent’. No other person had appealed to her as he had, she wrote. ‘I never 
saw any child, man or woman in the same clear light. I could know 
nothing of the worldly success that awaited him, but there was a spirit 
there and I knew it.’ In summer time, she said, ‘Sunny’ would come 
quietly to the open window, gently push back the curtains, and ask, 
^ways most politely: ‘May I come in, please?' The pretematurally quiet 
boy was none the less capable of the mischief of his years. Under cover of 
darkness someone moved the ‘To Let’ and ‘For Sale’ boards from houses 
in Boundary Road to other properties not in the market. The discovery 
was followed by excited conjecture and summary threats. It had been 
young Alfred’s practical joke, in idea and in execution. 

There were now eleven Harmswordi children, the oldest sixteen and a 
half, the youngest a few months. The &mily was constantly oppressed by 
want of money. At times there was not enough bread. The deep hurt of 
that time showed itself sixty years after to a visitor to Dornoch, one of 


39 



NORTIICUFFE 


novel, The Kew Macitiavelli. *1 have it on the best authority that this 
paper is to be a marked success*, he had written m the first issue. And in 
the second issue, as if he felt free to confess his private belief that he had 
the touchstone, he announced: ‘I am glad to say that my prediction as to 
the success of diis magazine proved concct.* 

There can be no doubt that die boy who got out the lime four-page 
paper was able if imitative. He saw Ac point of establishing in readers 
Ac lubit of looking for the same feature in Ac same place in each issue, 
grasping an cAtonal prinaplc Aat was to serve him well in his later 
career. His self-expression took a mote Arect form in Ae column of 
gossip headed ‘Entrc Nous’. In it he ranged over a variety of school topics 
and in doing so gathered experience of a branch of journalism that would 
contribute gready to Ac cxtraorAnary success wmeh lay ahead of him. 
The 'Henky House School Afajazme was Ac forcing ground of a talent 
wlucK was to become the most foimidablc pcisonal power of its kind m 
modem times. 

The journalistic gjft, for his age, was obvious if not remarkable. It is 
now clearly seen Aat Ac root of Ae matter was in him. Once Milne kept 
him in for some slackness m class when the other boys were given time 
off for play. Harmsworih setded down to produce some verse to suit Ae 
occasion; 


KEPT IN 

Here I am, myself bemoaning, under impositions groaning. 

The sail sAoolroom all alone in on this pleasant afternoon; 

Oh! how wearing 'fij here sitting, with no prospect of soon quitting, 

And the moments slowly flitting by this sunny day in June. 

Listening to Ac clock's slow ticking, at this sickening Virgil sticking. 

Horrid Latin words out-picking, feeling overcast with gloom; 

TantaLsing sunbeams C)’cing, watching happy birA by flying. 

For the flower-decked meadows sighing, pent tvithin Ais wretched room. 

Now no mote my task I m shitiung. Will is aiding me in working, 

Hope upon my breast is lurking, soon no fetters more shall hold me; 

Soon shall I have fmislied writing, soon have ceased this stuff inditing— 

All my svtongs arc quickly ri^nng-^iow 1 draw my breath— I’m fiec! 

A. C. HARMSWORTH 

A. C. Harmsworth, at sixteen imitatinc ra Act than experimenting with 
contemporary poetic forms, had also Immt to play the piano tviAout 
^Aering to read music. No one remembered his having had a lesson, 
bur he played with sufficient assurance to perform at school concerts. He 
also figured pronnncmly in school Acatricals. ‘Harmsworth made a most 

3* 



THE YOUNG FREELANCE 


Alfred left Henley Home at the Old of the Chmtmas term, i8Si, when he 
was sixteen and a half. Keeping up his contribution to the scliool magazine, 
though having ceased to edit it, he appears to have offered articles there 
which had failed to find acceptance elsewhere. A marked competence of 
expression is noticeable in ‘The Glorious Fifth’, sketching contemporary 
Guy Fawkes Day celebrations. ‘Newspapers’, describing the latest develop- 
ments in Fleet Street, was signed by him, his article concluding with the 
peroration: 

The net income of The Times is actually 003,600 a year, its daily sale 
80,000 copies, and the cost of a column for advertisement from ^^0 to ^100 
a day. It has immense influence in politics, home and foreign, and is generally 
conceded to be the premier journal of die world. 

Alfred Charles Haimswoith 
(Ex-Ed. H.H.S.M.) 


Later, watching with astonishment the Harmsworth rise, the brothers 
Milne were as pleased to claim the Old Boy association as Alfred was to 
acknowledge it. ‘Though I was not much of a student ... the generous 
and thoughtful "way in which I was educated at Henley House must have 
had a great influence on my career.’ Alexander Milne, the younger brother, 
kept m touch with him, from time to time asking him to guarantee his 
account at the bank, which Alfred did for many years. According to the 
autobiography of A, A. Milne, playwright and Punch contributor, Alfred 
ignored a request from his father,}. V. Milne, to help him in the purchase 
of a large school property, ‘price £7,000', on the Kent coast. Writing to 
Alexander Milne, on January 9, X915, Alfred (then Northcliffe) said: 
‘I am very glad to renew your guarantee, which I enclose, although I 
really think that your nephew, who is making a fortune out of Punch by 
attacking me, might do something for his uncle.’ 

Alfred Harmsworth, senior, had no encouragement to give to his son's 
journalistic hopes. ‘None of my friends will have anythmg to do witli 
you’, he told yoimg Alfred. For the fadicr dierc was only one caUing, 
though It had failed to bring him more dian passing satisfactions. Barristers 
and journalists were neighbours in Alsatia, but the bar had won from 
society a recognition withheld from the journalists, with their lack of a 
unifying code and their confmiem of standard-s. The elder Harxnsvvorlh’s 
opposition to his son’s journalistic ambitions was not entirely unreasonable. 
Much of the journalism of that time was a degradation of civilized values. 

A barrister of the Middle Temple, Edward Abinger, wrote of seeing the 
Harmsworths, father and son, dming together in Hall there. He recalled 
Harmsworth, senior, as ‘a dear old Bohemian gentleman’. The voung 
Alfred he described as ‘having the face and figure of a Greek god’. Abinger 

41 



THE YOUNG FREELANCE 


Alfred left Henley House at the end of the Christmas term, 1 88 1 , when he 
was sixteen and a half. Keeping up lus contribudon to the school magazine, 
though having ceased to edit it, he appears to have offered articles there 
which had failed to find acceptance ^ewhcrc. A marked competence of 
expression is noticeable in ‘The Glorious Rfth', sketching contemporary 
Guy Fawkes Day celebrations. ‘Newspapers’, describing the latest develop- 
ments in Fleet Street, was signed by him, his article concluding with the 
peroration: 

The net mcome of The Times is actually ^1.003, doo a year, its daily sale 
80,000 copies, and the cost of a column for advertisement from ^40 to ^{lioo 
• a day. It has immense influence in politics, home and foreign, and is generally 
conceded to be the premier journaf of the world. 

Alfred Charles Harmsworth 
(Ex-Ed. H.H.S.M.) 


Later, watching with astonishment the Harmsworth rise, the brothers 
Milne were as pleased to claim the Old Boy association as Alfred was to 
acknowledge it. ‘Though I was not much of a student ... the generous 
and thoughtful way in which I was educated at Henley House must have 
had a great influence on my career.’ Alexander Milne, the younger brother, 
kept in touch with him, from time to time asking him to guarantee his 
account at the bank, which Alfred did for many years. According to the 
autobiography of A. A, Milne, playwright and Punch contributor, Alfred 
Ignored a request from lus father,]. V. Milne, to help him in the purchase 
of a large school property, ‘price £,7.000 , on the Kent coast. Writing to 
Alexander Mibc, on January 9. Alfred (foen Northcliffe) said: 

‘I am very glad to renew your guarantee, which I enclose, although I 
really think that your nephew, who k raking a fortune out o£ Punch by 
attacking me, might do something for his uncle. 

Alfred Harmsworth. senior, had no encouragement to give to his son’s 
joumahsttc hopes. ‘None of my frien^ wUl^ve anything to do with 
you’, he told young Alfred. For the father there w« only one calling, 
though it had failed to bring him more than passmg satisfaction. Barristers 
and joumahsts were neighbours in AJsatu, but the bar had won from 
society a recoBoitioti withheU from the joumate, ™th their lack of a 
irmfyinE code and their confusion of standards. The elder Harmsworth's 
oppmmon to his son'sjoumalistic ambitions was not ennrely nnteasonable. 
Mneh of the jonmahsm of that time wm a dretadation of civjired values. 

A hamster of the Middle Temple. Edward Abmgr wrote of seeing the 
Harmswotths, father imd son, dinmg together m Ha l there. He recalled 
Harmsworth, senior, as ‘a dear old Boherman Ypung 

Alfred he described as ‘having the 6 cc and figure of a Greek god . Abinger 


NORTHCUFEE 

remembered that one of the elder Harmsworth’s dining corapamom in 
Hall was Cosmo Gordon Lang, aftenvards Archbishop of Canterbury, 
and that young Alfred sometimes joined them in an aftcr^imer game ot 
whist. No doubt Alfred Haimswoith, senior, cherished the hops that his 
eldest son might succeed where he had failed. He had influential friends 
who couldbe of help. There was Edward Clarke, a future leading advocate 
and Attorney-General, whose dapper, bewhiskered figure was to make 
him popular with the cartoomsts. Youi^ Alfred had been taken^ to the 
St. Stephen’s Club to meet him. There was Charles GeeviUe Pridea^, 
Q.C., the authority on Church law. There was Augustine Bitrell, who 
made a greater reputation as an essayist and after-dinner speaker than he 
did at the bar or in politics. In him Alfred Harmsworth, senior, had an 
admirer as well as a friend. Meeting ‘Harmie* on the Embankment one 
monung, Bittell commented on bis not looking well. Alfred Harms- 
woithiematked that it was not a matter of health so much as the cates of 
a large family. The encounter was recalled long afterwards by Winston 
Churchill at a banquet. 'Ten years passed’, he told the company. ‘By diat 
time It was a case not of protecting Mr Hatmsworth’s children from the 
world, but rather— er — ’ and the ensuing Chutchillian grin was taken up 
in prolonged laughter. 

Brief comidetation of the possibility of being coached for Cambridge 
renewed Alfred Harmswotin $ hopes for his son’ s future. But the young 
Alfred knew what his father refused to believe, that he had no gift for 
sustained study. He gave out the opinion, later on in life, that a year at a 
university may be a very good thing but that three years ‘is often a waste 
of time’. When, presently, he was receiving a constant flow of applica- 
tions fiom umvetsity men for posts on his staffs, he had a stereotyped 
answer for them; 'Umversity and public school education arc often of 
benefit but in the practical afllairs of life they as often require living down.’ 
Yet his first thought, when fortune came, was to arrange for his three 
youngest brothers to go to universities. On the suly ect of education, die 
founder of the popular and useful Htirntswc/tk's SeJj-Educator was perhaps 
never fully at his ease. He wascoachedfor a brief period by a tutor named 
Jocelyn, whose fees, it is believed, were paid by one of the elder Harms- 
worth’s friends. 

The friends of ‘Hanme’ were unusually sympathetic to him in his 
snuggles. One of them, George Robinson, of Stonegate, Leicester, en- 
gineer to the local gas company, whidi his femily owned, supplied funds 
enabling the third Harmsworth boy. Cedi, to go to Trimty College. 
Dublin. Alfred Harmsworth had acknowledged Robinson s eaiUet gener- 
osity by naming his next son Robert Ldccstcr. There were other bene- 
factors. die Yeos, for instance, the well-to-do St. John’s Wood builders. 
All this practical warmheartedness was a tribute to the likeable qualities 
42 


THE YOUNG FREELANCE 


of Alfred Harrmwortli, whose misfortunes did not embitter him, so that 
an intimate friend could say: 'It is always a pleasure to help “Harmie”.’ 

★ * ★ 

The problem of young Alfred’s future went into abeyance when, not long 
after leaving Henley House Sdrool, he had pneumonia, a result of one of 
the long-distance cycle rides, which were the hobby of his youth. His 
convalescence was passed in reading, mostly of the periodical kind. A 
personal column advertisement in The Times caught his eye. The ad- 
vertiser wished to hear of a secretary-companion for a Continental tour, 
all expenses paid, ‘musical tastes preferred’. Alfred answered the advertise- 
ment. He had to wait some time for a reply, which then requested fuller 
particulars about himself. He gave diem, withholding his age. Asked to 
call at 33 Great Cumberland Place, Marble Arch, London, he was inter- 
viewed by the advertiser, the Reverend and Honourable E. V. R. Powys, 
third son of die third Lord LUford. Powys was an amiable and cultivated 
young man of nventy-seven. Alfred Harmsworth was seventeen, amiable 
and, if not cultivated in the finer sense, at least personally presentable and 
with his own youthful charm, Powys said afterwards that, young as he 
was, Harmsworth impressed him at their interview, and subsequently, 
with his general knowledge, his mental quickness, his flow of conversa- 
tion. He engaged him as his companion for the holiday, not knowing 
that for Harmsworth the decision meant aiixiety as well as satisfaction; 
there was the awkward question of clothes. His parents had some diffi- 
culty in fitting him out for the journey. He and Powys went off together 
in the summer of 1882. As his brothers and sisters followed him out on to • 
the pavement at 94 Boundary Road, where a hansom cab was waiting, 
Alfred turned and said stamly: ‘Please don’t crowd round. You know I 
hate fuss.’ The jingle of hansom cab harness could make romantic music 
and It can be imagined as an exhilarating aa»mpammcnt of his thoughts 
as they reached out towards the novel experiences ahead of him. 

The Continental tour took him through France and Germany, though 
deuils of the itinerary are lacking now. Powys found in him the right 
travelling companion. ‘He showed such keen intelligence and pleasure in 
all he saw and heard. He proved to be delightful company. We never had 
a dull moment together-^ At the hotd at Aix-Ie-Bains they met a French 
admiral who became their acquauitance for a few days. As they prepared 
to move on, the admiral addressed Powys: ‘Si votre jeune ami est un 
modele de la jeunesse Anglais, je vous felidte dc tout mon coeur, c est un 
chatmante garcon, d’une intelligence suprenante.’ Reporting the com- 
pliment, Powys said that Harmsworth ‘attracted all sorts and conditions 
of people wherever we went’. They drove out together for a picnic in 

4J 



NORTHCUFFE 


the Val de Suzon, near Dijon. Thdr wefter disappeared. He returned, after 
being away some time, with a large bundi of \vild flowers picked ex- 
pressly. he said, ‘pour le jeune Monsieur’. Powys said that the man must 
have gone far afield for such a varied collecrion of flowers. ‘Harmsworth 
was dehghtei He said to me: “It’s awfully jolly of him! Just fancy an 
Enghsh cabby bothering to do such a thing!” ’ What impressed Powys 
particularly was ‘his kindly thoughtfulness for others and his devotion to 
his mother, of whom he always spoke wrth affectionate gratitude. It was 
charming’. Powys liked to thuik that die tour encouraged Alfred’s regard 
for France and the French which coloured many of his later activities as a 
journalist and maker ofpubhc opinioiL There is no douht that he returned 
to London dcadedly better in healtii, mentally invigorated and fortified 
in his resolve to be a professional journalist. Like many first-time 
travellers, he had the fcelmg of unique and privileged experience and an 
urge to commimicate it. 


Unwillingly, his father gave him a letter of introduction to Samuel Carter 
Hall, founder and editor for forty years of The Art Journal, author of a 
variety of books and composer of hymns, an old man who could look 
back on a life of endeavour in the cause of temperance, early closing, 
hospitals and better conditions for nunes and governesses. He was 
prominently concerned in founding the Brompton Hospital. He and 
Chatles Dickens had been friends, and it was believed in uterary circles 
that Hall was, in part at least, the original Pecksniff. That, in itself, made 
the interview memorable for Alfred Harmsworth. The old man wore the 
knee breeches, the velvet jackets and the frilled shirts of a vanished age 
and his reputation was eminent enough to cause Alfred to tremble as he 
rang the bell at the Kensington flat in which Hall lived out his last days. 
Their meeting was cordial and frank. Recalling it a few years after, Alfred 
said; My ideas of fame and fortune were considerably knocked on the 
head by what he told me of the triak of audionhip.’ The old man wrote 
out a letter of introduction to the editor of The Queen and handed it to 
him with a pinch^of snuff. He stressed the importance of never wasting 
an editor s time; the contributor who is perpetually calling or writing 
soon gets into disfavour . Alfred srid it was the most valuable advice he 
had received as a freelance writer. ‘I took it to heart and any success I had 
I largely attnbuted to the fret that I never troubled any editor with 
correspondence.’ The letter of introduction brought him no good. His 
articles at that time were rgccted by The Qteen. He also had to swallow 
a dose of discouragement from George Augustus Sala, whom he met 
through one of his father’s friends. Sala, an authoritative if not entirely 



/ TIIE YOUNG FREELANCE 

reliable personality of the Fleet Street scene* advised young Harmsworth 
to avoid it. A few years later it \ras Sala who was gratified to be able to 
call on Harmsworth. 

Studying the literary markets with renewed determination. Alfred 
turned his eye on the stream of publications for the young coming from 
Red Lion Square over the imprint ofjames Henderson. Young Folks’ Tales, 
IVeekly Budget, Scraps, Lots o F$m, ComScUfe, all appeared to thrive, and 
all were written in a simplcstraightforwardstyle that young Harmsworth 
could easily make his own. Henderson was a genial bearded Scot who had 
tnoved south, via Leeds and Manchester, in a series of professional steps 
giving him the experience he needed to justify Ms ambition to meet the 
challenge of London. Calling on him as a would-be contributor, Alfred 
Harmsworth quickly decided dial Henderson had ‘a keener instinct for 
business than for the literary side of things’. He was unlikely to have 
known then that Henderson had rendered a considerable service to the 
Cause of press freedom. As the publisher of the first halfpenny evening 
newspaper, The Glasgow Evening Mercury, and of the first penny daily 
newspaper, The Glasgow Daily News, he had wilfully ignored tiie dis- 
abling advertisement and stamp duties of the time. This Ted to his being 
summoned to appear at the bar of the House of Commons. Questions 
put to the Government before the appointed day elicited the announce- 
ment that it was not intended to proceed. Henderson had gained one of 
the victories wMch helped to abolish the taxes on knowledge. 

Established in London, with his Weekly Budget selling 200,000 copies 
andhisincomereckoned at ^i5,oooa year, Henderson made it Ms custom 
to invite writers for his papers to foregather for lunch in his office at one 
o’clock on Thundays so riiat they could meet members of his staff and 
exchange ideas. Sometimes the gatherings assumed the form of debates on 
current affairs. James Henderson took a liking to young Harmsworth 
and occasionally put him up for die night at Ms house at Heme Hill. 
'Your father was so kind to me as an aspirant,' N'orthcliffc wrote to 
Henderson’s son Nelson nearly forty years after, ‘that I would be de- 
bghted to see anyone you ask me to see. One of the contributors who at 
intervals joined those gatherings was invariably referred to as ‘the man 
from Bournemouth’. Alfred remembered his dark, urkempt appearance 
and his ‘shining gaiters’, his Western backwoodsman air. This contributor 
wrote a serial story for Young Folks (at 125. 6d. a column), giving it the 
title of The Sea Cock. Henderson’s editor changed it to Treasure Island. 
‘The man from Bournemouth’ was R. L. Stevenson. Later contributors 
included Max Pemberton and C. Ardiur Pearson. 

His acquisitive instincts sharpened by the worries about money at home, 
Alfred Harmsworth was deh^ced to be earning half-guineas by his own 
wits, a first taste of success v^ch was presently communicated to Milne 


45 



NORTHCUFTE 


at Henley House School. In the June 1881 bsue of the school nugazine 
the ‘Entre Nous’ column started by Hannstvorth was headed by a para- 
graph which read: 

It will interest all readers of the School Magazine to hear that a Henley House 
boy— and one who is still a boy. too— whose contiiburions to our paper are 
always so welcome, has developed into a journalist. He is now on the staff of 
Severn papers, daily and oilierwisc. 

Harmsworth’s desire to shine in the journalistic firmament was eager 
enough but it was an exaggeration to claim for him that he was a Fleet 
Street pluralist as early as ^t. What the writer of the paragraph, Alexan- 
der Milne, who had taken the magazine over after Harmsworth, meant 
to convey was that the former editor was now a freelance writer who 
contributed to various papers. Alfred was eighteen and making ^3 a 
week by his pen. ‘He was so set and so serious, so precocious and ambi- 
tious,’ svrotc a Hampstead contemporary of his who became well known 
in the printing trade, Frank Colcbrook, ‘that one might say he had no 
youth save in the sense that he was always boyish.’ He freelanced for four 
years, with the exception of a period of staff work on a paper called Youth, 
published from The Illustrated London Nem office in a top room at 
198 Strand. The paper was edited by Edtvard Morton, some time dramatic 
critic of The Rejaee. He wrote the musical comedy San Toy which had a 
long run at Daly's Theatre. A contributor to The Times in 1931 recalled 
a visit to the office of Youth during Morton’s editonhip, T found a boy 
wth bright eyes and fait hair correcting proofs. Morton said: “This is my 
young friend Hamuwofth. He’s going to be editor of The Times some 
day.’ ’ According to Alfred Harmsworth’s testimony, as editor of Youth 
Eoward Morton ‘neglected his duties’ for his more remunerative labours 
outside the office. 

Youth belonged to the Ingram family who owned The Illustrated London 
Keiri. It was the nesv name given to a combination of rtvo older publica- 
tions. The Boys’ Newspaper, founded in 1880 by Cassell, Petter & Galpin, 
of La Belle Sauvage Yard, E.C., and Boys' Illustrated Netvs, already owned 
by the Ingrams. Neither paper had been a success and Youth was an 
attempt to appeal to a generation more wiling than any that had gone 
before to be instructed as well as amused by reading. For its illustrations 
It rehed too freely on svood engravings used in The Illustrated London 
News, and us literary qualty, too, was often above the heads of the 
readers whom it was hoped to tcadi. Stories for yeiif/Ms ibt a^aodccoD-y 
other papers, were usually written round ready-made illustrations, a 
u\nng m coso. ' Wnting to cuts’, as the practice was called, was a Htcrary 
commission well known in pcnodical publishing up to the 1890s and the 
coming of die half-tone block. Alfr^ Harmsworth wrote one of its 
a6 



NORTHCUFTE 


went off pleasantly, and an account of it appeared in the paper. 
A privately printed booklet. Eton As She Is Not, gave permanency to the 
hoax and that formal version of it has become a collectors’ rare item. 

Alfred Harmswofth’s energy and ideas could not offset the effects of 
the inadequate budget on which he was obliged to produce Youth. He 
said afterwards that its title was a handicap, bemuse young men of seven- 
teen and eighteen did not hke asking for it under that name. Advertisers 
were not attracted into a paper selling to readers tvith no spending power 
to speak of and the end was almost certainly in sight from the beginning. 
The Ingrams were glad to get rid of the paper to John Baxter Boyle and 
his printer partner, D. G. Macrae, for j^^ioo. They in turn sold it for £300 
to Horatio Bottoniley, who hkewise had no success with it, tliough it 
may have served a purpose as part of his complicated business activities. 
Publication of Youth was suspended m 1888. In later years Bottomley 
wrote that Alfred Harmsworth had been a sub-editor on his staff. It was 
a claim that had to be refuted. He never worked for Bottomley. 

Runiung Youth gave Alfred Harmsworth more than technical experi- 
ence. It showed him that in the publisliing world ideals are apt to be 
tumbled down by economics, that success was more likely to come from 
following the public taste than ftom trying to lead it. 


Precisely when Alfred Harmsworth left home to live his own life is not 
known. There arc grounds for thinking that he left in 1882 after a quarrel 
with his father and that rebtions between them were strained for some 
time. There are no references to his father in the scrappy diary he was 
keeping though it records his often calling at his father’s chambers at 
6 Pump Court, Temple. 

He went to hvc at first with a friend of his earhest years, Herbert Ward, 
at Duncan Cottage. South Side, Hampstead Heath (now 99 South End 
Road). Apparently to relieve the family pressure, he sometimes had one 
of 1 ^ younger brothers to sUy there with him. St. John remembered 
sharing his bed at Duncan Cottage. ‘I suppose Herbert was home from 
one of his voyages, he wrote to Alfred many years afterwards, ‘because 

1 well remember your telling him to moderate his language. I suppose 
you thought it too robust and seafaring for my hearing.’ Ward was the 
elder by three years. I can remember when you wore sailor suits’, Alfred 
said to him a long time after. ‘Yes.’ sdd Ward, ‘and I can remember when 

2 had to b'low your nose lor you.' Spoken of as ‘a pocket Hercules’, Ward, 
who was a nephew of Roland Ward, the Piccadilly taxidermist, had 
already had a remarkably full and adventurous life, though he was still 
only twenty or so. He had left Mill HiU School at fifteen and had sailed 

48 



NORTHCUFFE 

— S of 

aim Hatmswotth's ““f .“f ‘“Xcd to ptodooc Yc«lk He 
the inadequate budget on w v b<^use young men of seven- 

,dd afterwards “ \"“„^or d under tlr\t name. Advernscrs 

teen and eighteen did not like inlmg spending power 

were not attracted “ W? sight from the beginning, 
to speak of and the end r Boyle and 

The Ingrams were 6 'i" They in tnm sold it for /300 

sSt,naTs:;sf\»r^^ 

Lte that Alfred Harmswor* had been a 
a claim that had to be refuted. He never worked for Botto^^. 

Fneein g Youll. gave Alfred Harimworrh more than technical open^ 
ence. It showed him that m the pubhshing world ideals arc apt 
tumbled down by economics, that success was mote Ukely to come Ir 
following the public uste chan from trying to lead it. 


Predsely when Alfred Harmsworth left home to live his o\^ life » n°j 
known. There ate grounds for thinking that he left in 1882 after a q 
with ius father and that relations between them were strained tor s 
time. There are no references to liis father in the scrappy diary M 
keeping though it records his often calling at his father s cham ct 
6 Pump Court, Temple. Ward 

He went to live at fost with a friend of his earliest years, Herbert * 

at Duncan Cottage, South Side, Hampstead Heath (now 99 
Road). Apparently to relieve the family pressure, he sometimes ha 0 ^ 
of his younger brothers to stay there with him. St, John remem 
sharing Hs bed at Duncan Cottage. T suppose Herbert was home to ^ 
one of his voyages,’ he wrote to Alfred many years after\vatds, beca 
I well remember your tcllmg him to moderate his language. I 
you thought it too robust and seafaring for my hearing.’ ^ 

elder by three years. T can remember when you wore siulor suits . A t 
said to him a long time after. ‘Yes,’ said Ward, ‘and I can remembw w 

Ihad to blow your nose for you.’ Spoken ofas ‘a pocket Hercules ». ? J 

who was a nepheiv of Roland Ward, the Piccadilly taxidermist, 
already had a remarkably full and adventurous Ufe, though he s 
only twenty or so. He had left Mill Hill School at fifteen and had sau 


48 



THE YOUNG FSEELANCE 

my mother s wing — not a had place, 1 can assure you, only I am anxious to be 
out into the world again. 

If you care for the verses on the other side keep ’em for a New Year’s gift — 
if you don t like them tell me and I will do you another set. 

I have not forgotten my debt to you. 

Youn ever, 

ALFRED C. HARMSWORTH 

^ The verses, over which he had written die three possible tides of 
Sleeping and Waking’, ‘Asle^’ and *1112 Sleepers’, opened with the 
sonorous lines: 


O ef Palace gates and Prison bars, o’er sorrow and o’er woe 
The Midnight Chimes arejloating with measure soft and stow, 

Hushed are the weary uoices, the laughter and the strife 
The Morrow's tide comes across the sands of life . . . . 

He had begun keeping a diary in which the name ‘St, Vincent’ was 
frequently written. ‘St. Vincent’, West End Lane, West Hampstead, was 
the home of a family named Milner. Robert Milner had begun nis business 
life as a clerk in the West Indies sugar trade. He was now a partner in the 
importing firm of Shaw & Milner, utcr Shaw, Butt & Comoany, of Wood 
Street, London, E.C. The introduction of sugar beet from Germany 
adversely affected the West Indies trade and Robert Milner’s business 
suffered. In the middle i88os, he had been fairly prosperous, able to keep 
Servants and to provide French and German governesses for his children. 
At that time, the Milners were better off than the Harmsworths. Like the 
Harmsworths, like many families in their social layer, they had their 
dreams of vanished grandeur- Mrs Milner’s family name was Wilmot and 
Wilmot was the family name of the Rochester earls. There had been not 
wholly disheartening genealogical forays in that direction. 

Mary, more often called Molly, was me eldest of the three Milner girls; 
there was also a son, Harry, who as a boy was a ‘clium’ of Alfred Harms- 
worth’s. Mary was petite, graceful and vivacious, a legatee in those respects, 
it was thought, of a French great-grandxnothcr. She had exceptionallyfinc 
brosvn eyes, also a ‘wonderful head of hair*. She and Alfred Harmsworth 
had cnethncofsh at a chUdce/i’s party )ong heSore snd ^ continues to 
remember, these eighty years after, her mother’s admonition on that 
occasion: 'Now, Molly, don’t dance fl//thc time with the best-looking boy 
in the room.’ For several years Molly Milner and Alfred Harmsworth were 
no more than casual friends, not often meeting except in each other's 
homes. Nosv, affectionate references to her were appearing in Alfred’s 
diary. Other entries tell of ‘quarrels at St. Vincent', referring to tensions 


51 



NORTHCUFFE 

Stanley’s party. Max Pemberton took his place as Alfred Harmsworth s 
companion. Pemberton was just down from Cambridge and thinking of 
a career at the bar. He was beset by die same urgent need of money. 
Aspiring to meet his needs by casual journalism, he went to the British 
Museum reading room to look up frets about Robert Bums. Coming out, 
he met Alfred Harmsworth, whom he had not seen for some time. 
‘Nobody wants to read your opinion of Bums,* Alfred told Pemberton. 
‘Give editors the kind of thing they want — less British Museum and more 
life.’ Following that meeting the two went into lodgings together at 
II Boscable Gardens, Regent s Park, near Lord’s Cricket Ground. There 
they shared a silk hat. Pemberton smother supplied them with stiff white 
paper bands to hide their soiled shirt cuffs. 

Pemberton said that although Harmsworth was mentally energetic 
beyond the average of his age, he often surrendered to moods of lethargy 
and disinclination to work, periods of indulgence wliich he probably 
looked back on longingly when time had laid on him its immense burden 
of responsibility and power. There were moments, for instance, in which 
he fancied himself as a composer of light music. He composed ‘The Ellen 
Terry 'Waltt’, a topial tide which may have done as much as die music 
to secure its publication by tbc firm of IGcin Sc Co., of 3 Holbom Viaduct. 
The tune had come to him as he was strumming on the piano at the 
Anchor Inn, Ripley, Surrey, a noted place of calf for the early cycling 
clubs. ‘Contains the ingredients of a good waltz. Though written in the 
style of Johann Strauss, it has many individual characteristics’, is the 
comment on the tune by Messrs Chappell Sc Co. to whom it was recently 
submitted for a professional opinion. Family recollection has it that 
Alfred’s father was displeased by the idea of his son ‘%vriting a tune about 
an actress . There is little doubt that young Alfred dreamed of fame as a 
composer of popular songs. At that rime he %vas calling on Henry Klein 
every day to talk over ideas and to submit lyrics. 

His freelance journalism was interrupted by an illness that brought him 
neat to pneumoma again, this rime after a bicycle ride from Bristol to 
:^ndon in pouring ram. He was now lodging with Pemberton at 37 
bhenli Road, West Hampstead, but spent that Christmas in bed at 94 
Boundary Road, m his mother’s care. The effects of the illness were to 
remam with him in the form of a liability to throat trouble. They made 
a lastmg mark on his consrituUon. 

Alfrcd Harmsworth to Henry Klein: 

94 , Boundary Road, 

St. John’s Wood. 

. December 28th, 1885 

or your dicering letter. It has done me more 
takenrincelsaw you. You see that I am under 


Mv dear Klein.—Thani you 1 
good than all the medicine I have 


50 



THE YOUNG FREELANCE 


my mother’s wing— not a bad place, I can assure you, only I am anxious to be 
out into the world again. 

If you care for the verses on the odiec adc keep ’em for a New Year’s gift — 
if you don’t like them tell me and I will do you another set. 

I have not forgotten my debt to you. 

Yours ever, 

ALFRED C. HARMSWORTH 


The verses, over which he had written the three possible titles of 
‘Sleeping and Waking’, ‘Asleep’ and ‘The Sleepers’, opened rvith the 
sonorous lines: 


O'er 

The Midnight Chimes are pathg with measure soft and slow, 

Hushed are the weary voices, the laughter and the 

The Morrow's tide comes creeping aaoss the sands of life. . . . 


He had begun keeping a diary in which the name ‘St. Vincent’ was 
frequently written. ‘St. Vincent’, West End L^e, West Hampstead, was 
then ome of a fimily named Milner. Robert Milner had begun his bmmes 
life as a clerk in the West Indies sugar trade. He was now a parmer m the 
importing firm of Shaw & Milner, later Shaw. Butt& Company, of Wood 
Street, London, E.C. The introducrion of sugar beet from^ Germany 
adversely affected the West Indies trade and Robert Milners business 
suffered. In the middle i88os. he had been fairly prosperous, able to keep 
servants and to provide French and German governesses for his children. 
At that time, the Milnen were better off than the Harmsworihs Like the 
Harmsworihs. like many families in thw social Uyer, they had their 
dreams of vanished grandeur. Mrs Milner s family Mine was Wi^ot and 
WUmot was the family name of the Rochester carls. There had been not 
wholly disheartening genealogical forays in mat dir^on. 

MzL more often caUed MoUy, ^v« the eldest of the three girls; 

tlicrc was also a son, Harry, who as a boy was a ‘(^um of Alfred Harms- 
wortli’s. Mary was petite, graceful and vivaaous. a legatee m those resp,^. 
i. wa, thougS, of a FrcncS great-grantoote She W^pnonallyfe 
bro^^■n cyca ako a 'wonderful head of hair . She and AIM Harmiwotdi 
had met firat of all at a ehildten’. patty long before and the conunnet ,o 
remember, these eighty year, after, (.et moti.et admomn™ on dut 
oceasion; ’Now, Molly, don’t da„« 

m die room.’ For several years Molly Milnerand Alfred Haimsw otdnvere 
no mote than easual friends, not often meenng 

homes. Nosv, alfeetionate to f ’ 

diary. Other en.ries tell of ’niutteli at St. Vincent . tefemng to tcns.om 



NORTHCUFFB 

between Robert Milner and bis son Harry, who was later sent out to 
Australia on an emigrant ship wth in Ws pocket to start a new hie. 

Alfred Harmsworih, resuming the life of the unattached writer, wth 
its smattering opportuniues for sclf^ducation, dealt with a number of 
different papers and a profusion of topics. The articles he was writing 
showed that at twenty he svas an efficient compiler and purveyor of 
factual material for the more popular types of journal. They showed him 
to liave been the bom joumahsr, a profosional who reached competence 
wthout serving a formal apprenticeship to letters. His lack of specialized 
training seems to have caused him some later misgivings, which had to be 
covered up by romantic versions of his experiences as an amateur reporter 
on the Hampstead & Hi^hgate Express. He often claimed to have worked 
and mixed with tlie elite of that branch of news gathering. He knew the 
pangs of editorial rejection, commending them afterwards to others as a 
necessary and valuable part of experience. One of the editors was the in- 
fluential Frederick Greenwood, of the Pall Mall Gazette. ‘Mr Greenwood 
did me a great deal of good. He rejected most of the articles I wrote for 
him. 1 had some fifteen or sixteen MSS. returned, but there was always 
a kindly little note which did much to take the bitterness out of the dis- 
appointment.' Looking back to those freelancing days, he was able to say 
svith an inflexion of pride that ‘though I was hampered by continual ill- 
health, I kept the wolf from the door*. 

TemperamenuUy, perhaps constitutionally, he was not drawn even to 
the milder excesses of the Bohemian life. He set foot m the taverns of 
Fleet Street only for the midday meal. If his father’s example was not 
finally discouraging, he saw other men suggermg to professional disaster. 
One whose fate stamped itself on his memory was Leopold Lewis, who 
wrote The Dells, in svhich Henry Irving had made history at the Lyceum 
Theatre. 'I often saw him, up and dou-n tlic Street, a poor old wreck/ His 
freelancing experiences gave him a lasting insight into the realities of a 
branch of journalism mostly ignored by proprietors and disdained by 
editors. He knew perfectly well that while tlicrc were many hacks among 
the Fleet Street freelances, in their ranks, too, were men and women 
whcKc gifts had enlarged die reputations of editors sitting at their desks. 
He demonstrated his sympathetic attitude generously in nis later years as 
editor and nc\«papcr os\-ncr. He remembered the meagre cheques he had 
received for his articles in Cassell’s Saturday Journal: on one occasion‘14/- 
for a column of facts’. 1 Ic always recalled diosc old freelancing transactions 
wth pleasure. It seemed to be important to him to identify himself with 
the common struggle for existence when he had risen far superior to it. 
Other cxTCricnces were less congenially remembered. One year he joined 
“ He dresv tlic winning ticket and took home the goose for 

the family Christmas at Boundary Hoad. Reminded of it long after by an 



THE YOUNG FREELANCE 

old Savage Club friend of his fedier, he a little too obviously changed the 
subject. 

There was a day when he and Pemberton had no luck in placing their 
ideas for articles. Alfred was depressed because the editor of Society, who 
had previously taken some of lus work, said that he had no room for 
more. Alfred rejoined Pemberton, who had waited for him on the Fleet 
Street pavement, and together they turned mto Farringdon Street and 
walked towards Holbom, to take a bus home to St, John’s Wood. 
Pemberton noticed a Tit-BHs poster outside a tall neglected-looking 
buildmg on the opposite side of Farrii^don Street. They crossed over to 
look at it. George Newnes, a Congregational minister’s son and former 
traveller in the fancy goods trade, had lately brought his paper to London 
from Manchester. ‘This chap pays a guinea a column,’ Pemberton said. 
‘Let’s go up and see him.’ Mounting to the first floor, they found them- 
selves in a large untidy room in which a man, with a beard the colour of 
badger’s hair, sat eating his lunch off a proof-littered trestle-table. He was 
George Newnes, the founder and proprietor of Til’Bits, who, without 
reali^g it, had become a force in the modem world by setting in motion 
the greatest publishing development of the age. His Tit-Bits lud been 
conceived in the spirit of a hobby, a scrapbook of ‘intercstmg bits’ clipped 
from newspapers and periodicals. He could have told his two young 
visitors precisely how it had come about. He had gone home one evening 
in Manchester and, svich his feet up, had read a local paper to his -wife. 
One of the items told of an engine drivers little daughter who was left 
briefly alone on the footplate of her father's engine. The engine started 
to move gathered speed, and was soon rushing along the line. The engine 
driver jumped on another engine, set off in pursuit and. cUnabing from 
one engine to the other, stopped the runaway. Newnes s wife ^d said: 
‘There ought to be a paper full of tit-bits like that. A lot of people would 
read it.’ The steam from James Watt’s kettle was not more momentous 

in Its consequences than this later domestic incident. 

The success of Tit-Bits was brgely the result of lucky timing. It became 
a symbol of the mental emancipation of the generation most immediately 
affected by the 1870 Education Act, the source and fount of the successive 
waves of publishing enterprise which have expressed as well as ministered 
to a lonc^g not only for more reading but for more life. Long before 
1870, John Cassell, the psalm-singing fodder of CasseWs SciturJ^Yj^ornal 
and odier ‘improving’ papers, liad found a steaily growing public for hb 
irorl;i»icAf<i/sFnWid(i85o).whichrcachedasalcofloo.o^copicsmafcw 
months: He anticipated and in some measure prepared the advent of the 
Tit-Dits type of putlicarion. Cassell sJou^ubsm^«s «niest :md crowding, 
he having been a fearless preacher m thccourts and a!lc)i of Cbrc Market, 
where Alduych now is. then one of London s disreputable quarters. H,s 


53 



NORTHCmTE 


name 1/ perpetuated in the imprint of the wcU-knowri book publishing 
House. Ncvvnes was content to imbue his Tit-Bits with general moral 
ideas, leaving piety out of it. „ 

Looking up from his lunch, Newnes asked the two young callers their 
business, and on being told that dicy wanted to become Tit-Bits contribu- 
ton, he asked bluntly: ‘What subjects*’ Ncidier had friought as far as that. 
Pemberton, neatly improvising, said: ‘Jerry-builders.’ He said afterwards 
that the idea had come to him from ‘the crazy nature’ of the Newnes 
building. The article was written and sent in and paid for in cash by 
registered post, all wthin a few days. Hannsworth followed it with 
‘Some Curious Butterflies’, written by hand on ruled copybook paper. 
Other subjects confirmed the bias of his professional inclinations: ‘A Visit 
to W. H. Smith & Son’, 'Newspaper Special Editions: How They Are 
Made’ and ‘How Some Fortunes Arc Made*, describing the effect of 
copper-plate engraving methods on the popular taste. ‘Q.C.s And How 
They Arc Made' no doubt owed something to his sojourns in the Middle 
Temple with his father. 'Organ Grinders And Their Earnings’ set him 
wanacring in the alleys of ClcrkenwcU in search of material. Writing in 
the 1,000th issue of Tit-Bits, Newnes recalled that Harmsworth was 


‘almost daily in the building for a time, bringing in most interesting 

Amcd Harmsworth’s imagination had been lit up by meeting Newnes, 
not beausc Newnes was an inspirational figure but because he had a 
success on his hands. If Newnes, why not Harmsworth? The implied 
Question was one of opportunity rather than of talcnu. George Newnes, ' 
tnirty-five to Alfred Harmsworth’s twenty, seemed to the younger man 
to be nuddle-aged, heavily painstaking and unprofessional. That Newnes 
would develop a masterful personality was clearly not foreshadowed in 
his first encounter svith Harmsworth in Fatringdon Street, any more than 
it was vouchsafed that the same street would presently become the head- 
ouarters address of the world’s greatest periodical publishing organization, 
the Harmsworth brothers’ Amalgamated Press. 

Pemberton believed that this meeting widi Newnes was decisive in the 
career of Alfred Harmsworth, He remembered Alfred coming into his 
bedfoorn one morning soon afterwards to talk about the phenomenon of 
Nc^vne$ $ success. *1110 BoMdschoolsarc tumingout hundreds ofthousands 
of bop and girls who don t care for the ordinary newspaper. They’ll read 
anything tlut is simple and sufiGciently interesting. The man who has 
produced this Tir-Biis has got bold of something bigger than he imagines. 

I shall try to get in ntith him.’ Discussing the future with his eldest sister, 
Alfred told her: *Therc U be a huge demand for good, wholesome stories.’ 
She never forgot his u>-ing it. ’He was still only a boy. It showed how his 
mind was working.’ 


S4 



THE YOUNG FREELANCE 


From there he went on to consider the chances of finding capital to 
start a paper like Newnes’s. Pemberton’s father, in the City, was ap- 
proached; he was not interested. Pemberton then secured an introduction 
to a wealthy Park Lane hostess. Lady Meux, and kid the scheme before 
her. 'She agreed to the venture and would have gone on with it but for 
the intervention of the family solicitor-’ Mary Milner’s father showed 
interest and then regretted, in a letter, diat he did not see his way ‘quite 
clear about capital’. He afterwards put his few hundreds into an umbrella 
business, with results whidi, accot^g to Alfred, were awkward enough 
to require an urgent family conference at seven o’clock one morning. 

George Newnes had experienced the same sort of frustration. His most 
promising hope of capital had been from a Manchester business man whose 
interest evaporated unexpectedly in the course of the crucial interview, 
leaving Newnes disappointed to the point of nervous collapse. Lost in 
gloomy thoughts on hjs way home, he tripped over a kerb and lay half> 
conscious on the pavement. A policeman, flashing his bull's-eye lamp, 
accused him of being drunk and Newnes was hard put to convince him 
otherwise. The capiat on which Tit-Bits was founded came from ‘The 
Veeetarian Company’s Saloon’, satted by Newnes with no capital at all. 
When he had made he gave up catering for the hypochondriacs of 
Manchester and went into publishing. As a vegearian tesaurant pro- 
prietor, he was more than once seen in another part of the city eagerly 
disposing of a midday steak. 

Alfred Harmswotth’s emulating energy was given a new direction 
when the publishing fiemof UifFc of Coventry offered him die editorship 
of Bicycling News. He had been writing articles for other cycling papers, 
among them The Cyclist, owned by the Uiffes, and Wheeling, a rival paper 
edited by one of the cycling penonalities of the time named McCandlish. 
Alfred wrote to him on March 7. 1886: ‘As you were good enough to 
introduce me to Me, I shall be glad in return to make you known cither 
to Cassell’s or the Morning Post.' Ilifle ntgoaated in the £int place through 
his London manager, Septimus Smith, known as ‘The Colonel’ for his 
sartorial elegance. Smith offered Hannsworth a salary of £2 los. and 
arranged for him to travel to Coventry to sign an agreement with William 
ILffe personally. Harmsworth had recently been turned down as an 
applicant for the sub-editorship of Society and it seems to have been with 
some relief that he wrote in his diary for January 7, 1886: ‘Heard of 
cerainty of gettmg work on Bidding News. Thanks to Smith’, and to the 
cycling misadventure which had befallen him shortly before. He had been 
a\vay on one of his self-imposed endurance rides and, after a severe 
drenching, had been ill svith congestion of the lungs. The doctor urged 
him to find work away from London- The agreement with IlifFe was 
signed on March 27. :886. Later that day, Alfred returned to London to 

55 



NOBTHCUFFE 

spend the weekend at ‘St. Vincent’. His diary entry for that Sunday reads: 
‘Awfully happy with my darling. 

•* * •* 

The momentum of the industrial revolutaon was mounting fast. Steel 
manipulation — the word survives as ‘manip’ in the important steel tube 
trade of today — was accelerating the social revolution. The bicycle, until 
then a ridiculous-looking machme which none could ride with grace and 
few with ease, was cvolvmg mto its finally popular form. The Times had 
published a leading article: ‘The bicycle has . . . now surmounted the 
difficulties of construction and adapted itself to human capabilities — it 
augments at least threefold the locomotive power of an ordinary man. 
Society used to be divided into the equestrian and pedestrian orders: these 
people have found a third rank.’ 

Coventry’s metropolitan place in the bicycle industry was the result of 
the disturbing effects of the new pace of invention and exploitation. The 
city had previously known the shocks of unrcgiJated enterprise. Its fairly 
extensive worsted, woollen and silk frilling trades had been mt by foreign 
competition, which later depressed other local industries, the making of 
watwes and scsving-machines among them. The city of Tennyson’s 'three 
tall spires’, with its coal and steel resources, turned to bicyclemanufacturing 
as to a sheet anchor in a stormy sea. The skill of the watchmakers and 
scsving-machine mechanics was invaluable to the cycle trade. A popula- 
tion of 40,000 was expanded to 70,000 by die cycling Doom, whidi received 
its most decisive impetus when a Sussex &rmer’s son, J. K. Starley, in- 
troduced the ‘diamond’ frame, and J, B. Dunlop, a Belfast veterinary 
surgeon, patented the pneumatic tyre. In 1889, not more than three or 
four bicycles lud air-fillcd tyres. Two yean later, cycle manufacturers 
began sending their wheels to the Dunlop firm to be fitted with the new 
tyre. Cycling was becoming safe and enjoyable and soon ‘die wheels of 
dunce of a topical Wells novel were spinning to the farthermost parts 
of the land. 

The coming of the bicyde brought new business to the Coventry 
printing houses and the demand for catalogues and technical literature in- 
creased the turnover of the Uiffc firm, whidi did jobbing work, with wall- 
paper dealing as a sideline, lliffc’s compositors were setting new bicyde 
trade names almost every week, some to become household words, some 
not: Premier’, 'Spiiuway’, 'Rover’, ‘Humber’, ‘Iwvisrdbk’, ‘Rwige, 
Kuig of the Road , Raleigh . There were others less solid-sounding and 
some as fanafd as die orders in the books of their opportunist promoters. 
William Iliffc s shop was at the comer of Vicar Lane and Smithford 
Street. In time he was joined dicrc by his son, William Isaac Iliffe, whose 

56 



THE YOUNG FREELANCE 


soundness of judgment was mainly responsible for the rise of the firm in 
the realm of trade journal publishing. He it was who took the decision to 
publish the paper on which the Emily’s prosperity was founded, The 
Cyclist. 

It is difficult to understand now that the advent of so simple a method 
of getting about was met by begrudging and sometimes bitter resentment 
from other users of the road and from die press. In spite of the sympathetic 
prescience of The Times, the bicycle as a means of personal locomotion 
was actively despised by many people of the class from which that news- 
paper’s readers came and the superior social attitude has persisted down to 
our own time. As late as 1939, whena writer proposed to a leading London 
publishing firm a book based on a bicycle tour of England, he was told 
that ‘the best booksellers would not be interested'. In the 1 880s there were 
still a few remaining coaches on the English roads and, like the watermen 
of the Thames of an earlier time, when the hackney coach first appe^e 
m the London streets, the coach drivers and guards saw a threat to their 
livelihood. A guard of the London-St. Albans coach was fined ^ 5 lot- 
endangering a cyclist’s life by throwing an iron ball and chain mto ms 
front wheel as they passed on the road. Another angry man was gtyen six 
weeks’ hard labour at the Thames Police Court for a similar kind ot 
assault. Encouraged by the harsh denunciations of the new pastime in a 
taring journal. The Sporting Times, a patty of horse-lovers ai»cked a 
number of cyclists with some violence on the Ifipley Road in 1 
a common thing for cyclists to be lashed by the whips o passmg 
and wagon drivers. . _ r 

Cycling joumahsm in England started in the 1870s. One of the first 
publications of the kind was Ixhn, a shilling mon^y pu s 
Fl«t Street. It lasted three months, just long enough for it 
coming of hcavier-than-air flying machines. The icyc . . 

montUy, was published in 1875 from Heme Hill, a cm r ... ,1 
cycle racmg meetings. Next came Bicycling Nws, m i 7 . P 
Benjamin Clegg, a Covent Garden printer who was also m 
bean. The paper was bought by Wilham ilifle for ^5 added 

already owSed two or three other cyclir^ 

The Cyclist as the first fruits of his pitnership wi^ a Wey 
master named Henry Sturmey, who originated the S^macy- h 

who later printed on his business notepaper the of 

jmtifled opimons of a dozen newspapers The Cyclist at 

Bntish motoring. He was the first ediw ' rirciilatton of 6.000 

fi«t declined advertisements, but in ^ce years 1 
Was supported by twenty pages of advernsmg an P 
considered a commercial succSs. ihougb .ts safes 
^d integrity gave it the highest standing among p p 


NORTHCUFFE 

Other cycling papen sprang into being, some of them overnight and 
doomed as q^oickly to disappear. The rivalries were fierce. Most of the 
papers were given several subsidiary odes, invented to monopolize the 
held and to keep out intruders. For that reason the Uiifcs vrere denounced 
as ‘the Coventry ring’ and their success with The Cyclist in particular 
brought them abuse of a son diat could not flourish in print under our 
later laws of libel. "When they launched a new paper called Wheel Life, 
it was hailed by a contemporary as ‘another broken-kneed horse from the 
Coventry stable'. The editor of ftlieel Life, stung into disregarding ^e 
Hiffes’ policy of ignoring attacks, retorted in kind: ‘Garbage and inanity 
have spread their foal tvings over cadi issue, while vulgarity jostles with 
mendacity for the first opening left hy die other two.’ There was in those 
papers resentment of new ideas as well as of new rivals. The Dunlop 
innovation was derided as 'the exploding tyre’. 


Alfred Harmsworth, aged twenty-one, unpacked his bag in the Covent^ 
of those absurd journahstic antagonisms catly in April 1886. WiUiam Ilifle 
had found accommodation for him at 5 The Crescent, Holyhead Road, a 
small terrace house occupied by Miss Louise Mercer, who had been 
eovemess to the Iliffe children and now let rooms. He paid ,^1 a week 
for his bed and board and had a courtesy share in the sitting-room with 
another lodger, the Rev. H. H. Devenish, curate of St. John’s Church, 
Coventry. Alfred attended services there. He also went widi the Hiffes 
to Queen’s Road Chapel. He soon hit on a nickname for the curate— 
‘Devilfish’. They became good companions, $0 that nearly twenty years 
after Devemsh was able to write to him that ‘the old friendship is as true 
as ever’, by which time the curate had become rector of K^n^va^ten, 
Wanvickshire, and Alfred Harmsworth famous in the land. Alfred 
charmed Miss Mercer in particular by his piano playing, his ability to 
rattle off the latest times. It was the only luxury he could afford, the few 
shillings a week for piano hire. He had only to hear any piece once and 
be cotud play it immediately, an odd little gift with wliich he impressed 
many people. • 

j Henry Sturmey said that when Harmsworth first went to Coventry, 
his entire belongings were conuined in a small handbag’. He described 
Harmsworth as being a somewhat loosely built figure with a very earnest 
manner , and raid cJiaf his Jaw was ‘strong and determmed’. As co- 
proprietor of cycling papers with iliffe. Stiurmey was impressed by ‘the 
superabundant energy which he put into his work’. According to a 
member of the staff of The Coventry Standard, Alfred was ‘poorly off for 
clothes . niffe’s personal assbtant, named Woodward, said that he had to 

58 



THE YOUNG FREELANCE 

mend Harmsworth’s jacket before he could attend a cy^sK ^ rally. The 
-BicycUne News cartoonist, George Moore, told how he had more than 
once lent Harmsworth a shirt’. It was always understood that Iliffe s 
London representative, Septimus Smidi, lent Alfred a mommg smt for 
the mterview with William Iliffe. It is hard to accept such reports, for ^ 
this unanimity of reminiscence. Al&cd Harmsworth had taken pnde m 
his appearance as a vendor of editorial ideas and he had hem seen m 
Fleet Street wearing the Inverness cape and glosw s^ hat which were the 
period’s hallmark of the well-dressed man. Shabbmess for him had a 
Bohemian context for which he had no taste. , 

There was no questioning the impression wbch his good looks rnade 
on his Coventry coUeagues. One of them wrote: He was distmgyished- 
lookmg, loose-limbed, carrying himself with an air of freedom which you 
seldom see in a man. I often walked with him in fc st^ets and could not 
help notidng the number of people who turned back to take a second 
glaL at him. Some would ask me after>vards: “Who was that fm^ 
Lw ch» you were -ithr ’ Tte .mo 


with him which qmcKly mioc menu. ...u r--r -: v 

him.' There wet another eontemporary a.* whom he lefuh reeollec- 

tiOh of 'exeeptioiul and even arrogant s^^onfidenee • * 

Ceemlry StM later teaUed him at luvmg a ^ 
imoctiout in a wav, but an exccUent fnend and cotnparaon. The ah 

Sg horrwat^eXocd by Wt feUow lodger, Devemth. 

by thi? handsome young stranger. Mott young men ate ^ 

a?a first meeting. HarrStworth walked m.o my togy httle tutmg-room 

ivith the aplomb of a diplomat entering a salon. 


ionttibuted to Il'/ittl Ufi while he was ,t.U “ 

’"s'hX before Ins arnval in mrSr''“t'm« a lin of A^'e 

a fairly flattering outline of his so frr skctc \) • S 



NORTH CUFTE 

papers to whicli he had contributed and ended on tlic bold assertive note 
that 'his success is generally considered quite out of proportion to his years 
and a brilliant career is very generally expected ofliini’. If in those days of 
his youth tonguc-in-the-chcck egotism came naturally, it might be uir to 
doubt whether he himself had prompted that crude manifestation of it He 
had been seconded for the Ooventry post by ‘The Colonel’, Septimus 
Smith, and Alfred’s diary shows that Smith had been ‘touching’ him for 
small cash sums. He was caiiung no more tlian he lud made as a freelance. 
But money was coming in regularly. Besides, he was enjoying again 
the peculiar pleasures of being an editor, of having one’s favours sought 
instead of having to seek them from others. 

B(cyrli»i_j News soon responded to the Harmswortli editorial touch Its 
circulation rose. Inside a fortnight he had given the paper a fresh com- 
plexion. He adapted a well-known advertising slogan to read: 1/ CetiiesAs 
A Boon And A Blessing To Men, The Popular /Viiti’orti'j, The Racy B.N. His 
ideas were good for circulation, bad for office morale, it seemed. The 
nominal editor was Lacey HiUier, a noted cycle racing pioneer and 
amateur champion, oracular on bicycle history, and obstinately resistant 
to the teclinical improvements which were to make cycling a popular 
pastime. He was by profession a stockbroker and worked in London. 
Iliffe had decided that the time had come for the editor to work in 
Coventry; hence the new arrangement. !t left Hillicr with the job of 
writing leaders while Alfred did the office work in Coventry. Hillicf 
would not admit that he had been superseded by the younger man who, 
he insisted, was manager of the paper, not its editor. He led a revolt 
against Hatmswottli. Angry because lus technical successor had broken 
up his articles into briskly readable paragraplis, Hillicr, who could be 
crushing when roused, wrote to William lliffc complaining that ‘this 
yellow-headed worm has cut my copy to rags’. Iliffe, a man of good 
sense, took no notice. But the uncomplimentaty cpitlict of ‘yellow-headed 
worm’, shortened to y.H.W., took the place of ‘The Kid’, as he was 
known at first to the printers at Vicar Lane. Years later, when Harms- 
worth answered a letter from Hillier. he signed himself ‘Y.H.W.’ instead 
of ‘Northcliffe’. 

Another aggrieved writer for the paper said, apropos of Hillier’s out- 
burst, that Alfred Harmswordi’s blue-pencilling was often so drastic tliat 
I could hardly recognize my mutilated offspring’. Particularly irritating, 
said this contributor, was the fact diat Harmswortli knew so little of tire 
subject on which they were experts. ‘I did know everything at that period 
about practical Cycling. A. C. Harmswotih certainly did not.’ Aware of 
the deficiency and not being parocubrly bothered by it, Harmswortli 
was able to call on the s^ces of a number of well-informed men who 
were speciaKzing in cycling sulyects. One of them was Arthur Morrison, 
6o 



THE YOUNG FREELANCE 

writing » 'Nym' in the iBffe papers, and bter well 
of Tales of Moan SIrcelo and other stories of East End “f Londo" hfe 
whieh are begintring to be accepted mmor Victor, an ^ ^ AM 
Harmsworth’slack of specializedknowledgewas offset, 
by bis instinctive understanding of what bicycle en ini , ; 

lbs keen contemporary sense saw, for insun«, that “g' 

beeome part of the pleLure of riding about the countrys.de and the space 
wMch he regularly gave to it helped to popularize , 

For him, the bi^cle was not simply a nevv X 

a social portent. Most significant was his insig * ° h , , e Jier 

future of women. The woman cychst, then, tvas a ^ 

appearance a signal for abuse from passOT-hy, etc ^ 

4tling women being stoned by outraged anti-femimsts Newh 

under Harmswotth, broke new ground by acqmtmg tp^^en 

spondent, Lilias Campbell Davidson, somenme P^uXcHuT more 
Cyebsts’ Association, whose role it was to wnte a . , J fjct 

favourable pubbc opinion. It may be an insufFicje y jn jjjg 

diat the CoUry 

freeing of women from domestic bondage. S .Viemselvcs the pre- 
joWng ^e men in their club ^ne lodd have forecast that 

behbd it can be traced io the enfranchrsmg journalism oi the yo B 

editor of B/ryc%Netw. enW He oreanized the 

His enterprise went beyond the cdito . u;* facility as a 

paper’s advertising and added For The Cyclist hs 

provider of ideas was drawn on for omcr ' P ? potw. This 

invented a mysterious Chinese ^ ° all of which flowed from 

personage, according to vanous ' P Coventry by bic>'clc 

young Alfred Harmsworths pen. due ^ reception was 

a few days before Christmas and, it wa . of trade and good- 

being arranged. His mission was ^vcll to advertise their 

and manufacturers, it was urg^ terest rose to a high pitch of 
produas to time with his coming. Local in applica- 

cxpcciation. T/ieCyriistadverriscmcntcolumnsw^ 

tions were received from pc^ns Number. It was a 

Fong arrived in the form ^„Lodv lauched and regarded 

Harmsworth hoax and so successful tl« ev ^ Anotlicr of his 
It as one of the funniest episodes boob and ocriodicals 

editorial inventions was a column ol *^P common tnread \v 2 i 

to which readers were SeerTalw. I. tot ^ 

cycling and the open road, but tlm id , v^of hU succesj. Within 

' sort of journalism which was to be th 



NORTHCLIFFE 

a year the circulation ofBicycUttg News had moved rapidly upwards, and 
the curious position had to be faced of a paper selling more than it could 
afford to print because the advertisement revenue had not kept up wim 
the sales. The lUffes had never wanted BUycliiig News to succeed to the 
point at which it might echpse The Cyclist, which came first in their 
sentiments as in their balance-sheet. 

Harmsworth soon became the target for abuse from the rival factions. 
They referred to his paper as ‘The Hotch-Potchery'. He wrote some of 
the articles under a pen-name, calling himself Arthur Pendennis, taken 
from Thackeray’s hero, whose personal style he had always admired. 
‘That little tradesman , was one of the sneers thrown at him. It was con- 
sidered to be specially offensive, and it evoked the printed retort that 
‘Mr Arthur Pendennis, by the by, has been a student for the Bar’, the 
writer of the paragraph being Harmsworth himself. ‘Arthur Pendennis s 
charming prose is only marred by the writer’s want ofpractical knowledge 
of his subject’, was a more bearable comment. Stung by a scurrilous 
article, ‘in what we regret to be obliged to term our contemporary*, he 
carried the attack for once deep into the enemy lines, heading it ‘Pro 
Bono Pimlico’. His Arthur Pendennis articles were well done, considering 
his years. 

Recoiling possibly from the crude polemics and the social harshness of 
the Coventry scene, he apparently asserted the Pendennis affinity with 
unaccommo^ting disdain. He tvas heard to say that he would ‘eventually 
get a peerage’. When he was stopped by a policeman for riding a bicycle 
on the towpath, he at tint gave the name of 'Lord Pendennis . Stutmey 
tctnemberca one occasion when Harmsworth was hauled off his bicycle 
by a policeman who caught him riding without a light after dark. He 
gave the policeman his father’s London address in the Temple. Nothing 
more was heard of the inddent. There were Coventry characters of that 
period whose mentality he can hardly have respected, for all that they 
were acquiring the finandal sohdity which he conspicuously lacked. One 
of tiiem was haymg a new house built The architect asked: ‘Which aspect 

do you prefer?’ ‘What aspect is ’s house going to have?' the chent 

asked, naming a rival in die bicycle industry. ‘South', he was told. 
'Then give me two south aspects’, was the order. 

Like his father, Alfred was capable ofimpressing others with his instinc- 
tive civility. There was in Coventry a Well-known cycling man, A. J. 
Wilson, who was deaf, and who, for that reason, used the pen-name of 
Faed . Alfred had lessons in the deaf alphabet from George Moore, the 
cyc^g cartoonist, taking die trouble to do so to make conversation 
«sier for Wilson. Referring to itin aletter written in 1933, Wilson, who 
became an intrepid motor-cyclii^ pioneer, said: ‘Many years afterwards, 
when Harmsworth had become Nordidiffe and the owner of Sutton 


62 



THE YOUNG FREELANCE 

Place, in Surrey, I went to lunch with him there. After our meal, at which 
various other people were present, he took me up to his sanctuni and sit 
beside nie on a sofa and talked on his fitters to me for over an horn 
Wriung to an acquaintance in 1939. Mrs Walter Welford whose 

husband tas editor of one of the Coventry cyctag papers and who 
henelf practised professional photography m Hagley Road, Edgbaston, 
recalledWed Harmsworth as one of her first sitters, H^as m 
ham with members of Ilitfe’s staff for a cycling even . oohshed 

photographs taken. Harmsworth was not an easy su je • . , 

maimers undid my posing. He leoiiM keep sprmging up o taken 

lift that for me. I Sd not keep him still.’ In a group 
at that time, he looks half-crushed in 

squeezed between Lacey Hilher and H, H. Cnffm- = , . 

bowler hat, too old for his years, and in his gloved “ “Sg 

confirming that impression. In a few years several of his semors m the 

group would be asking favours of him. ,.j t,;tn «*ndm2 

The petty professio^l strife of Covent^ often 
Ms thoughts back to London, the city of his future. Bicvdinjl 

to the ‘Cyclist Poet', Fred Smith, whose verse ^ 

Nmt readers; ‘One ?f*“"^)'hI mgoingiipm 
weekly like Newnes s Tit-Bits. Only I j -q ,jy in his 

the q/estions.' Smith, .vho was ako life's head r^dcr ^[^“Vew 
turn; ‘I knew Alfred Harmsworth when “‘I.® ‘'on® walked back 

coppeis and a bunch of keys. His “1 ® “alkcd about the futute. 
With him to Miss Mercer s one day when they you arc 

•TUs Coveutry hfe,‘ Hatmswotdi tematked. J, 'bril- 

not quite down, but you are by no means up. p ,, jai^thathewas 
hant?y shining eyes’ as he somewhat flighty in Hs 

a strange mixture of optimism and P“' „ was often to 

work, but full of ambiuon , Carson said that ^ 

be found at the local tefetenee hbtaty for TMte'. 

quaint and curious literature, enough for a „,,ij -ot understand why 

He was still sending articles to that pper ^ ^ knowledgeable 

Carson did not exploit the same opportumty. wiUine to explore 

about the Coventry past and of kings’, he would 

the older parts of the city. ‘Let os >valkmdie footsteps King 

say, as Carson and he set out on a P '1886* 

He wrote to his brother in Dublin for Chnstmas, 

8 The Crescent, 

Coventry 

My dear Cecd,-. . . I expea yo» ^yXsTuSlS?^ " 
you any harm Lots of fellows have to Uve 



NORTH ClIFrE 

I am Roing to towm oti Tliursday tiD Tuesday and shall be at 94 on M s 
birthday! Said her a card and a letter. I dull try to give her a substantial present. 
1 expect you arc ratiicr pushed for Xmas presents and card money, so I send 
you all I can spare. Mind not to run into debt. 1 can alwap send something at a 

I have got a rise to j^i90 from IhfTe. 1 expected ^210 but shall not^get that 
till I am married. However, I have a series running through Henderson’s Veun^ 
Folks that svall run for 2 years and that brings me in £70 or {/}$ a year in fact, 
besides occasional articles there and about fjt a week from Til-Dils. 

Your affectionate brotlier, 

ALFRED 

Writing to the same brother a week or tsvo later; ‘I send you ten bob, 
as Ma tells me that it will come in handy. 1 hope you arc working hard 
and are paving the way to getting into a good set.' Cecil had gone to 
Trinity College, Dublin, from tbe Philological School in Matyicbonc 
Road, London (now Marylebonc Grammar School), where Harold had 
been educated. Leicester was also a pupil there; his education svas in- 
terrupted by rheumatic fever, which permanently injured his health. 
Hildebrand was at Dublin High Schow as part of an arrangement by 
which, to relieve the pressure at home, he was being looked after by 
Maffett relatives. The Marylebonc school reports showed that Harold 
was 'particularly good ac arithmetic’. At other subjects he gained poor 
places. Even so, he had a Lking fot school and almost resented the holi- 
days. Cecil did better llian Harold and went on to win prizes at Trinity 
College, Dublin, whctc he was Senior Moderator in Modem Literature 
and Stewart Scholar in Literature. Of the three, it was Leicester who 
made the best showing at the Marylebonc School. Cecil carried a painful 
memory of the school doivn to his last days. 'It was tlic odious practice 
to summon from class, in the loud voice of the school porter, embarrassed 
urchins (myself sometimes among them) whose fees were in arrears and 
whose attendance was required by tlic school collector. After sixty years 
I recall with indignation the humiliations imposed on a shy and sensitive 
boy by the callous stupidity of the sdiool authorities.’ 


64 



Geraldine Maffett, Northctiffc’s mother. A photograph taken in Dublin 
shortly before her marriage to AUred Harmsworch, senior, in 1864 






s™„,b»k, Ch.pcI»<Kl. D«bl,n. »hac Nonhcliffi: wa, bom on July . 5. .S«i 


chapter Four 


‘Answers to Correspondents’ 




One of the most far-reaching invcnttom of an inventive age was the 
paragraph. Skilfully exploited by die new impresarios of me printed 
word, it was a portent of greater moment than many of the more spec- 
tacular developments which heralded the twentieth century. Alfred 
Harmsworth considered that its true begetter was Edmund Yates, of The 
WorU, a proprietor-journalist whom ne as a younger man had much 
admired. Newncs in Tit-Bits vw exploiting the brevity which was the 
secret of catching the attention of the new uterate public. A page in his 
p^er, headed ‘Answers to Cocrcspondcnc’, contained many paragraphs 
of^two or three lines only. Although ‘Answers to Correspondents* was a 
convention of periodicaljoumalism before Newncs appeared on the scene, 
he grasped the value of it as a 'feature' more firmly than any editor had 
previously done and continued to give readers’ letters his personal atten- 
tion long after he could afford to pay odicrs to do it for him. His bio- 
grapher, Hulda Ftiedcrichs, said: ‘For years he took these letters in bundles 
twelve mches high, and higher, went carefully through them, and 
answered them so wisely, so fully, and so well, that in coune of time 
people belonging to every sodal class sot^ht help and advice from that 
source. Not was there any part of his vrork which he found more in- 
teresting or more stimulating.’ 

As a schoolboy, Alfred Harmsworth had used the idea of ‘Answers to 
Correipondenti’ in The Hsuisy Hffuse Sehfffil When he Jefr the 

school, the heading for that column in the magazine was reduced to 
‘Answers’. Newnes’s reaiizaoon of die value of ‘snappiness’ had set him on 
the road to riches. Harmsworth’s more ruthless energy took up the run- 
ning and soon enabled him to ovettake and pass the older man in achieve- 
ment and rewards. Nesvnes had hit on a profitable formula for meeting 
the mental needs of the supctfidally educated new generations. It was: 

6s D 



NORTHCUFFE 


Information « entertainment. It made a strong appeal to the mind of 
Alfred Harmsworth- Ruminating in bed one morning during his last 
weeks at Coventry, he resolved to put up to the Uifies the notion of a 
popular weekly, on Tit-Bits lines, to be c^cd Answers to Correspondents. 
He had given readers’ letters prominence in his cycling paper. He knew 
that they were an editorial asset. William lliffe listened to ms scheme, for 
young Harmsworth had proved that he could secure circulation; also, he 
svas attractively eager in his enthusbsm. IlilFc's verdict was against the 
idea. It meant a digression from the trade paper publishing in which the 
firm was most experienced and into which they had put much of their 
capital. Hsims^^yinh's new p 2 pcewotAAh 2 ve to stand alone. Jr could not 
be fitted into their existing arrangements for advertisement canvassing, 
and so on; in short, it was a gamble. As a parting friendly gesture, lliffe 
offered to print such a paper for him on credit for a few wee bifhe decided 
to launch it. Alfred left William Uiffe’s office with that generous promise 
in his pocket. He was twenty-one and as aggressively sure as any young 
man of that age can be that there was no time to lose. 

A newcomer to the lliffe staff at that time, a cycling champion of the 
early i88os named George Gaidxousc (later advertisement manager of 
Tlie ^Hfocar), was asked by William Qiffe shortly after Harmsworth had 
left; ‘What are they saying about it in die town?’ The reply was given: 
‘They’re wondering why you let him go.’ lliffe pondered the point before 
making any comment. Tnen he said: ‘He was too hot for me.’ Hatms- 
worih had saved the fortimei of BicyeUno News, They declined again after 
he had left Coventry. The paper was later sold and incorporated in a 
Birmingham spotting publication. It was natural that Coventry should 
not detain hm longer Uun he needed to learn the lesson that, as he after- 
wards said, ‘not an the wisdom of the British Isles resides in London . 
Although Coven^ had put valuable technical skill into his hands and 
added solidly to his experience of printing and publishing, it was inevitable 
that he should return to London to make the more consequential dis- 
coveries awaiting him there. Love, money, ambition, fhistration, may 
have combined to give force to his decision to leave lliffe. Mary Milner 
was in London; and we can sec from lus diary how often she was in his 
thoughts. All the best ^vriti^g markets were in London; the highest rates 
of litcra^ payment were made there. In London he could find the most 
stimulating and productive opportunities for self-expression, especially as 
he knew by^ instinct what he wanted to do. Or, he may have been 
atrractea bacx more positivcfy by hearing that a friend of the Mafletts m 
Ireland was in a position to provide finance for the paper he was eager 
to start. 


* * * 


66 



‘answers to correspondents’ 

William Fry Carr, from Dublin, was one of the thirteen children of 
Canon Carr, of Christ Church Cath<xlfa 1 , Dublin, rector of Whitechurch, 
Radifamham, Co. Dublin, and editor of The Church of Ireland Gazette. A 
brother of William’s who died in ui6ncy had been named D’Argaville, 
after his maternal pandmother. When William Fry Cazts fiancee heard 
it, she exclaimed: ‘Oh, what a lovely name?’ and insisted on c-alliTi g him 
by it, William being too prosaic for her liking. Assenting to the change 
and amending the spelling to Dargaville, Carr crossed the Irish Sea to se 3 t 
a career in London. He brought with him ;£i,500 for investment in any 
reasonable undertaking on behalf of his wifc-to-bc, Geraldmc MafFett s 
closest girlhood friend, the daughter of Dr Gordon, of Hume Street, 
Dublin. It was her dowry. Carr also brought a MafFett introduction to 
Alfred Hatmsworth. He had what is sometimes called *a fine eye* and his 
brogue was music in the ear. He was a good athlete who excelled as a 
cross-country runner. 

Carr had travelled to Coventry for his first meeting with Alfred. 
Devenish, the curate, said that Alfred asked for the private use of the front 
parlour for the duration of the interview, saying that he could not h^c 
to impress lus visitor in his bed-sitting-room. The interviesv was succcssfm, 
resulting in what seems to have been an impulsive fusion of interests. Carr 
agreed to go in %vjth Alfred on a business footing. Within a few days, 
Alfred left Coventry and went into lod^gs sviih Carr at 77 Ivenon 
Road, Kilbum, one of the many local streets of an aspidistra-cherishing 
community which asserted its character in strictly whitened front door- 
steps and close-drawn curtains of Nottingham lace. It was from there that 
Carr and Harmsworth embarked on a business relationship based on the 
capital svhjch the former had brought svith him from Ireland. They rook 
a room in a first-floor office belonging to the publishers of Horner’s Penny 
Stories at 26 Paternoster Square, iust off Ludgatc Hill; rent 15/. a week. 
For privacy’s sake, the room was divided by a matchboard partition which 
gave them an office eight feet by ten feet. The other part, twelve feet 
square, became the pubushing office. It was loo small to admit more than 
two Of three nesviagents’ men at 3 time: others had to wait their rum in 
a passage outside. Carr, the sentimental Irishman, W'as touched to learn 
that the carpenter who put up tiie partition had sixteen children, several 
of them ailing. An office whip-round for him produced foiu: shillings. 
The partnership agreement between Alfred Harmsworth and DargasdlJe 
Cart provided for two others to Join them, Edward Markwick, of 3 Elm 
Court, Temple, a barrister friend of Harmsworth, senior, and Markwick’s 
half-sister, Annie Rose Rowley, of 159 High Street, West Norwood. In 
the deed of partnenlup she is desorbed as *T>pcuTitcr*, Markwick as ‘Sub- 
Editor’. Matkwick had dropped his original surname of Johnson in favour 
of his middle name. He was bom in Limehouse in 1830, the son of a 


67 



NORTHCUITE 

mariner, and was called to the Ktiddlc Temple in 1883. He wrote leading 
articles for the Daily Telegraph and was l^al adviser to the BicycbpceJia 
Britamka publishers. He and young Alfred Harmswortli were often seen 
together in the Temple and Fleet Street. Carr was named in the deed as 
‘Business Manager’, Harmsworth as 'E^toc’. 

Otherwise, the staff in the bc^nning consisted of a youth named Tom 
McNaugbton, who looked after the ‘trade counter’. He was joined shortly 
afterwards by an office-boy, B, "W. Young, son of the landlady at 
Iverson Road. At home Young had to call the two lodgers every morning, 
and Alfred Harmsworth, he temembeted, ‘never liked getting up’. He 
recalled die Harmsworth of that time as being 'decidedly handsome’ and 
having ‘a feminine pallor’. The Young boy was given his job in the 
office by Carr and Harmsworth was annoyca about it. Young overheard 
him say to Carr: ‘You might have consulted me. I have several brothers 
whose future I am responsible for.' 

At Carr & Co. money was frequently short. Young was more than once 
sent round to the City Bank. Ludgatc Hill branch, to ask if there was a 
balance to covet 'a very small cheque*. Possibly the capital provided 
through Cart was forthcoming only in instalments. There appears to be 
no warranty for the statement made in The History of The Times, volume 3, 
page 102, that Alfred ‘risked f^t.ooo of his own savings from journalism 
upon a journal of his own’. There liad been no chance for him to save 
so much money. It is doubtful if he saved any. 

A visiting American expressed surprise at finding a mimeograph 
duplicator in that small and cluttered office. 'If we were as go-aliead as 
your people,' Alfred Harmsworth told him, 'we might have the telephone, 
too.’ The telephone was beginning to be used in London business houses 
but official fears that the revenue from telegrams would be prejudiced 
hindered the development of a public telephone service. Although less 
than two decades remained of the nineteenth century, its shadow still lay 
heavily on that London in which Alfred Harmsworth was trying to 
establish himself. That he was looking ahead was shown by a long article 
headed ‘Typewriters’ which he contributed to The Queen of April 10, 
1886. It reviewed the possibilities of a development soon to be socially 
significant as well as technically unique. 

The activities of Carr & Co. nnged from the publication of a treatise 
on biliousness, price a shilling, to A Thousaml Ways to Earn a Living, by 
A. C. Harmsworth, which was publidied by them in collaboration with 
George Newnes. It began with accountancy and ended with yacht build- 
ing and had a good sale, helped by publicity in Tit-Bits. Dealing ivith 
newspaper work as a calling, die audiot told kus readers: 'It gives no scope 
for genius.’ Carr’s also published Ail About Our Railways, by A. C. 
Harmsworth, the first in a proposed All About series which went 



‘answers to correspondents’ 

no farther. He wrote the railway book as a result of a. talk with a 
signalman during a long wait at a sm^ station outside Coventry. Among 
the firm’s failures were Famous Breach of Promise Cases, The Way to 
the Winning Post, and a 'potted’ biography of W. G. Grace. The com- 
pany held the agency for Recreation, subdtled ‘The Gymnasium News’, 
a penny monthly sponsored by the National Physical Recreation Society 
which had for its object the ‘promotion of physical recreation among the 
working classes’, a possibly redundant ideal which, as Carr & Co. found, 
offered no scope for journalistic success. The Volapuk Journal, id. monthly, 
was dedicated to ‘the spread of a universal language . But the subjects of 
Queen Victoria remained firm in their belief that the creator had already 
decreed the official language of the universe and Carr & Co. could make 
no progress with the Volapuk heresy. Their hopes for a time were centred 
in The Private Schoolmaster, official journal of the Association ofPrinripals 
of Private Schools, of which J. V- Milne, of Henley House School, had 
been secretary. The paper was edited for Carr & Co. by Markwick, the 
barrister member of the firm. Its sales were never more than 300 copies a 
month and advertisers were not interested in it for the further reason that 
as a class schoolmasters represented no worthwhile purdiasing power. 
Harmsworth thought that we paper had a certain prestige value and kept 
it going for some time at a loss. Lasting four years, it has a pioneering 
place in the history of educational journalism. 

Carrying himself as if confident that his destiny had been arranged as 
he would svish, Alfred did not allow the firm’s poor prospects to cloud 
his days or even disturb his temper, though he had a fight in the office with 
a cousin, Arthur Hendry, whom he had temporarily employed. Young 
remembered that there were days when Harmsworth and Carr did 
nothing whatever but talk. ‘When he was not talking to Carr, he was 
talking to the newsagents’ “reps”, asking diem every sort of question about 
their jobs and picking up a lot of information that was useful to him later.’ 
Max Pemberton, calling one afternoon, observed that his friend was 
Wearing a morning coac in a shade of fawn, with a rosebud in the button- 
hole. ‘He seemed very happy, though he did not disguise from me that 
business was not flourishing.’ His careful dressing, which Pemberton was 
equally Careful to note in detail, was possibly influenced by the research he 
had been doing for an article called ‘Purple and Fine Linen’, contributed 
to Picwrial Society. In. it he h/ddu^BiuratncU. and. Pendeurus as exemplars 
which the men of 1886 sadly needed. » 

The business was not producing a living for the parmers. Dargaville 
Carr had no liking for office life. Alfred svas still dependent on his free- 
lance work. As for the young manat the trade counter, Tom McNaughton, 
he had so little work to do diat he went off to become one of the 
McNaughton Brothers, a famous music-hall double act, and later to marry 

69 



NORTHCUFFB 


a sister of Marie Lloyd. Alfred was angry because he left without giving 
notice. His place was taken by another young man named J. M. Blanch, 
weD knoivn in Fleet Street, later, as one of the managers of the Observer. 


‘Times have never been so bad,’ Allred Harmsworth, the barrister, wote 
to his son Cecil at Trinity College, Dublin, adding with amusing disdain 
of the logic of their situationt *Do not demean yourself to the ^garity 
of a tramcaj unless absolutely necessary/ There were times when Cedi 
could not afford to ride even by tram. Harmsworth, senior, was sensitive 
also to the social unworthincss of football as a pastime for would-be 
gentlemen, ‘Cricket is the first of all games and calls out the best faculties 
of mind and body,* Cedi’s mother wrote to Kim in a more severely 
practical tone. ‘You had better nuke your luiderclothes last two weeks, 
not wearing the vest at night.’ White marble oilcloth on. Ins dressing- 
table, she suggested, would be an economy, and in reply to a complaint 
from him about college laundry durges she wrote: ‘Your neckties should 
be wide enough to cover all’, a hint of makeshift hardly conforming to 
the personal dignity insisted on by the head of the family. ‘You do not 
say if ;/ou have heard of anywhere Avbcre they have early Communion. 
See to it*, and in her next letter: ‘We shall of course be delighted to have 
you back for the vac. if the money can be found, but it has been fearfully 
scarce.’ 

Alfred Harmsworth, senior, to R-edcrick Wood: 


6, Pump Court, 

Temple. 

24th March, 1886 

My dear Fred, — I wish I had been a little more pressing in asking you to speak 
to Heneage on my wish for a judicial appointment of the nature of a County 
Court judgeship. Yesterday 1 saw in the papers an announcement that the 
County Comt Judgeship of Preston was vacant. I wrote at once to the lord 
Chancellor for it, and he replied saying drat the post was in the gift of the 
Cl^ccllor of the Duchy and that he had reason to know that he had filled it up. 

There ate ocher County Courts in lus jurisdicrion and ocher legal posts of like 
c^racter, and if you ate on sufficient teems I would ask you to mention the fact 
t^t lamanaspimnt for such an ofiice widi such terms ofeommendadonasyou 
tniiifc proper, and it you can go so fet bespeak beforehand a nomination when 
a vacancy occurs. 

Write to me as to your views. 

Ever sincerely, 

ALFRED H. 


70 



‘answers to correspondents’ 

A hope, later that year, that he would receive a post as Official Referee 
soon faded. ‘There are political rivals in the field’, he wrote and his 
Johnsonian Toryism no longer carried the old respect. His disappointment 
was shrugged off with the Micawbetish comment: ‘It is something to 
have made them hesitate.’ He had colleagues at the bat who did not doubt 
that his abilities entitled him to consideration for professional advance- 
ment. They spoke of him as a sound lawyer and an excellent advocate 
whose gifts of speech compelled attention from every side. 

Meanwhile, he watched the rise of contemporaries and friends. ‘There 
are 14 new Q.C.s,’ he wrote in a letter to Cecil. ‘Mr Harris and Mr 
Nasmith have both got alk gowns- I have been retained by a City 
Guild, the Carpenter’s Company. I am looking forward to much venison 
and turtle/ There being few briefs, he had sublet his Temple chambers at 
what may have been a small profit to himself. He was now spending 
much of his time at home, shut in the toomhe called his ‘den*. Increasingly 
he withdrew from the society of his children, retaining his closest intimacy 
with the eldest girl, Geraldine, whom he called ‘Lady Dot'. Resigned 
apparently to the prospect that life had nothing more to offer him, he 
would sit blinking through the haze of endless pipes of tobacco, reaching 
forward now and again to jot down lines of uninspired verse on devo- 
tional or patriotic themes. He lapsed into a world of reverie. When the 
hall ceiling crashed down outside his room door, followed by cries of 
alarm and running feet, be did not stir from his chair. 

A few days after the great national spree of June 20, 1887, when 
Victoria, fifty years enthroned, had gone in state to St. Paul’s Cathedral 
and her people had lie the bonfires of rejoicing on every beacon height 
and drank and feasted and sung and laughed a long day through, ten 
of the eleven Harmsworth children assembled at 94 Boundary Road 
for a private celebration, their father’s fiftieth birthday. The family seemed 
to have outgrown the twenty-three years’ span of mcir parents’ married 
life. Alfred was just on twenty-two, Geraldine twenty, Harold nineteen, 
Cecil seventeen, Leicester sixteen, Hildebrand fifteen, Violet fourteen, 
Charles thirteen, St. John eleven, Christabcl seven and Vyvyan six. 

It was July 3, just before the law term ended for the long vacation, 
when for the successful barristers there was a lessening in the flow of 
briefs. Harmsworth, senior, was denied that contrast in his affairs. He had 
not had a brief for three months. His last had been retained by the 
bank in respect of back dues. The dis«>vcry, made the day before, was 
particularly upsetting because Geraldine Harmsworth had counted on the 
money for domestic needs. In the fullness of time, and crowned by its 
irony, her husband’s amiable character and feckless career would be com- 
memorated in the Middle Temple by an Alfred Harmsworth Memorial 
Fund of over ^ 60 , 000 . He would have been hardly less astonished to 


71 



NORTHCUFFE 


hear that his portrait has a permanent place in the Benchers’ Room. Cecil 
Harmsworth’s recollections confinni^ the seriousness of the family’s 
situation. They were ‘struck all of a heap’, he said, when it was realized 
that there was ‘absolutely no money m &e bank’. Alfred was apparently 
absent from the party. It may have been Ac period of his estrangement. 
They were resigning Aemselves to Ae likchhood of having to forgo the 
meJ of celebration when it was remembered Aat the fourA boy, Leices- 
ter, had not yet come in with Im Civil Service salary of 145. When he 
arrived, the sum of los. was ‘borrowed’ by Aeir mother, who bustled off 
to Ae shops, returning with ‘a cushion of bacon and a large quantity of 
green peas'. Meanwhile, Ae youngest of Ae children had laid hands on 
two duck eggs, which they gravely presented to their faAer. 

Harmsworth, senior, pronounced his bicAday lunch the most delicious 
he had ever had: ‘Never m my life have I enjoyed anything more’, and 
he went on to ask what food could a man desire better than bacon and 
green peas? Come to think of it, he had a rich friend who actually pre- 
ferrcdbacon and green peas to all or any of Ae more expensive Ashes he 
could so easily afford. . . . Grace Acn b^g said, he retired to his room to 
read Shakespeare, fortified by Ae contents of a jug whiA stood on the 
table at his elbow. 


Alfred, junior, was preoccupied by his plan for bringing out a paper of 
his own. There is no doubt that it was based on Newncs’s idea. Both of 
them were likely to have known of an eatber paper called Replies which 
had Ae secondary title of ‘A Journal of Question and Answer’. It had 
appeared two years before Newnes started Tit-Bits. Having been con- 
ducted with no success by the Co-operative Publishing Company, of 
CaAerine Street, Strand, London, it was taken over by a firm of money- 
lenders m Mark Lane, E.C. They changed its name to Oracle and made it 
a meAum, no more fortunate, ofadvice to investors. An American paper. 
Queries, had been put on sale in London a few months before Carr 6c Co. 
started in business. It failed to tap a market which Alfred HarmsworA 
was firmly determined to exploit. BoA Newnes and HarmsworA, too, 
would have known Aat Ae supply of good reading matter m perioAcal 
form was restricted to about half a dozen perioAcals of whiA the most 
vvidcly circulated were The Family Herald, Household Words, The Penny 
Magazine and The London Journal, The Family Herald had made its readers’ 
letten a source of attractive ‘copy’, 

Alfred HarmsworA was not content to emulate. He was out to excel. 
Tit-Bits had made readers’ letters one of its chief attractions. In Harms- 
worA’s paper Aey were to be the feature; hence its original title, Ansims 


72 



‘answers to correspondents’ 

, to Correspondents, a kind of Notes & Queries for the unscholarly average 
man tiiirsting for information rather tlun for knowledge. Notes & Queries 
may be entided to fuller acknowledgment as an incentive to the new 
journalism. It had been appearing for nearly half a century as a fount of 
information supplied by its spedalist and erudite readers for their mutual 
interest and help. Alfred Harmsworth drew attention to its existence later 
in annoimcing one of his new editorial developments, expressing the 
opinion that the circulation of Wo/fsfi' Qwereer would benefit if the paper 
were published ‘at a more popular price’. In considering his Answers to 
Correspondents idea, his ima^nation had been projected beyond the 
printed word. 'If the paper pays,’ he said to a friend, ‘I propose to have 
experts in to answer questions personally. For a shilling, anyone will be 
entitled to call at the office to ask a question and get an answer on the 
spot. I believe the place would be packed all day widi people in need of 
information.’ 

Newncs was not a journalist by instinct or training. Someone said of 
his Tit'-Bits that it was ‘the greatest literary duke of the century'. Harms- 
worth was a bom journalist. ‘Somehow I knew from the first just what 
people wanted to read— at least, that is a fair assumption, I think’, he told 
an English Illustrated Magazine interviewer in 1896, He could write, he 
could originate ideas, he could handle type. He had studied Newncs’s 
paper with a keen professional eye and had no difficulty in convincing 
himself that he could improve on it. 

Neither among his family nor his friends did he find encouragement for 
what to them seemed a grandiose conceit. Shown the Answers ‘dummy’, 
the manager of a large wholesale newsagents’ business, named Williams, 
saw nothmg in it of interest to the trade. Without challenging that nega- 
tive verdict, Alfred Har^ls^vorth quietly stated his sale-or-rctum terms 
for the paper when it appeared. Another visitor, N. C. Davidson, whose 
btisiness was with Outing, was astonished when, after showing him the 
‘dummy’, Alfred said; ‘We're not going to have any advertising. We 
don’t believe in it.’ 

He talked about the paper with a number of other people without 
impressing them. His was the sort of tenmerament which prompts shrewd 
judges of men to say; He will either make a fortune or go bankrupt. The 
judges in this instance might have been confirmed in their doubts if the^ 
had seen the brown-paper covcrcdfoldcr containing young Harmsworth’s 
ideas for the future. It showed that he was dreaming, fantastically, of 
starting not one paper but a number of papers. Pasted across the front of 
the folder was a label with the doggerel inscription in large drawn capitals; 
SCIIEMO WAGNincO. 

As he had earlier found, the first of all problems was money: where 
and how to procure the necessary capital. C^rr & Co. were in no position 
73 



NORTHCUFFE 


to finance a paper. Urgent discussions took place in the back half of the 
shabby httle office in Paternoster Square. At one of them, Markwick, 
the barrister partner, suggested that he might take financial soundings of 
a man he knew who had ‘married money’. The possible speculator to 
whom Markwick proceeded to write a letter was Alexander Spink Beau- 
mont, formerly oftoe Royal Welch Fusiliers, Markwick threw in the hint 
that ‘it might not be unprofitable’ to invest ‘a small sum’ in Carr & Co. 

How and when the paths of Beaumont and Markwick had first crossed 
is not known. Beaumont was die son ofa major-general who had dropped 
the surname of McCumming for Beaumont, one of his other names. Why 
his son took the name of Spink has remained an unanswered question to 
subsequent generations of family; it was the married name of one of 
his aunts. Having seen service in India, Alexander Spink Beaumont re- 
tired with the rank of captain to marry, in 1872, the widow of William 
Savage, of Midsomer Norton, Somerset. She was the daughter of the 
Rev. Sir Erasmus Griffies- Williams, Bart., of Llwyny Wormwood Park, 
Carmarthenshite, and a woman of wealth. By the time that Alfred Harms- 
worth came to know him, Beaumont had grown a beard which made him 
look more sailor than soldier, so much so that Alfred referred to him in 
letters as ‘the Admiral’. He had no means of his own. Presumably because 
she controlled the cash, Mrs Beaumont became known in the office of 
Carr & Co, as ‘the C.-in-C.’ She was fourteen years older dian her hus- 
band, A friend of Harmsworth’s referred to her in a letter to him as 
‘charmingly uncommon’. Very soon after they became his backers, Alfred 
Harmsworth was signing his letters to the Beaumonts in terms of affec- 
tion: 'With love and kisses from us all’, ‘Our love to you both*, and so on. 

Beaumont was a chess player of considerable attainments whose name 
is remembered by the cosnoscenti From his London home, i Crescent 
Road, South Norwood Park, S.E., he organized important tournaments 
and exerted himself tirelessly to promote the growth of the game. A 
trophy given by lum in 1904 continues to be competed for by leading 
women chess players. Music was another of the passions of his life. His 
compositions were heard at the Crystal Palace concerts. Sims Reeves, the 
celebrated Victorian tenor, chose one of Beaumont’s songs, ‘The Garden 
of Roses’, for his ‘grand final farewcU concert’ at the Albert Hall in 1891. 
The amount of Ins original investment in Carr & Co. was ;,([i,ooo. It was 
primarily devoted to pushing the English sales of Outing, an American 
journal of amateur sport for which the Uiffes had held the London agency 
until Carr & Co. took it over. Outing was edited and printed in New York 
and its chances of success in tfii country can never have been bright, its 
articles being almost wholly American in appeal. Its circulation in E n gland 
was about 1,000 copies a month. Its owner was Poulteney Bigelow, son 
of Lincoln’s ambassador to Fiance, a traveller in strange regions and 


74 



‘answers to correspondents’ 

coriMpondent for T)je Times of London during the Spanish-American 
War. 

Not long after Carr & Co. had taken over the agency for Outing, 
advertising the magazine in TTie Private Sdioolmaster as a journal ‘eminent^ 
suited to the reqmrements of a sdiool reading room’, Bigelow sent his 
right-hand man of affairs, Colond Wannan, to look into the prospects for 
in London. The visitor overawed the office staff at Paternoster 
Square with his splendid fur coat and his large embossed card bearing the 
address: 239 Fifth Avenue, New York City. Unable to conceal his surprise 
at the humble office of Carr & Co., he found it possible, none the less, to 
apply the very latest American colloquialism to young Harmsworth — 
‘a live wire’. Possibly he had seen die letter which AlfrM had written to 
Beaumont about Outing: 

. . .We are to hire six superior sandwichmen, dress one as a shooting man 
with a gun, game-bag, etc., a second as a hunting man, a third as a football 
player, a fourth as a mherman, a fifth as a cricketer, and a sixth as a yachting 
man. They will all have good clothes and first-class guns, cticket bats, etc. Each, 
that is to say, svill tepcesent some popular sport, ^ch will carry an advertise- 
ment of Outing and all day long wilTparade the West End. 

The appearance of this queer cavalcade in 'the best’ streets of the 
metropolis had no advantageous effect on the sales of Outing. The maga- 
zine failed but it may be entitled to more than passing notice in the history 
of periodical publishing. The size and make-up of its pages were followed 
closely by Newncs in The Strand Magazine when in 1 891 he laimchcd that 
subsequently celebrated publication. A contemporary critical comment on 
the first issue of The Strand was that *it looks too much like an inadequate 
copy of a good American magazine to be altogether satisfying’. 

For Alfred Harmsworth there were other preoccupying matters at that 
time. He wrote to Mary Milner: 


Midnight, Monday-Tuesday, 
30-12-87 

My very dear darling, — I have just got the endosed from Grirawood. It came 
by the last post, but I md not see it in the letter-box dll I was departing for bed. 
1 really could not call you 'dear Mary’, so you must excuse the ‘very dear 
darling’. 

I will come, then, at 6.30 Wednesday. 

Your loving devoted, 

A. 


* * * 


75 



NORTHCUFFE 

Alfred Harmsworth was drawing no more than a year frotri Carr & 
Co., a fact which he took care to bring to the notice, in writing, of 
Capuin Beaumont. His income at dut time, 1888, was not likely to have 
been more than £200 a year. Money, the ever-present problem, did not 
deter him from contemplating a step which would complicate his finances. 
His mother had written to Cedi: ‘I hear Alfred really talks of getting 
married in April. I have written to him lemonstntmg hut do not hope 
that it will avdl. They ate both ({uite too young.' According to a member 
of the Matkwick family, it Twas Mackwick who lent Alfred the cash to 
buy an engagement ring for Mary Milner. Alfred wrote to his Aunt 
Sarah’s second husband, Frands Miller, tire soUritor: 

CARR & CO., 

Publishers. 26, Paternoster Square, 

Telegraphic Address ‘Outing, London. London, E.C. 

CfceijHes should le crossed ‘City Bank'. 1 5th March, 1 888 

Dear Unde,— I endose, with many 3 bitter teat, the first payment of my 
debt. Please lay in a dozen smart detks to collect the test. Also londly arrange 
to keep the nth of next month dear. You have an important engagement at 
2 o’dodc at Hampstead Patbh Church on that date asid there will be wedding 
cake for sampling later on. 

Yours with wailing & gnashing of teeth, 

ALFRED C. HARMSWORTH 

Signor Frandsco Mdleto. 

On that same day, ‘Dot’, the eldest Harmsworth girl, who was learning 
to typewrite in the office at Paternoster Square, when free of home duties, 
wrote to Cecil at Trinity College, Dublin: 

Your appeal for clothes has not been in vain. Harold has handed over his 
shore blade coat, which 1 have mended and sent on its way ro Perth, as we have 
agreed that it is worth dyeing. As to ‘bags’, I am sorely afraid that I can do 
nothing for you. 

THE WEDDING is to be on April iidi, I understand from Alfred that the 
presents are pouring in, in fine s^. They already have three cruets. I am 
vacillating between a screen and alitde table, the sum in hand being 12s. fid. . . . 
The bridesmaids’ dresses arc already chosen, they ate all white and I am sure 
such a bevy of beauty wdl never be equalled — at least in 'our’ day. 

Tell me what you think of this performance. I see a good many faults but this 
time I am able with truth to say it h the feult of the type-writer. 

With much love. 

Your affectionate sister, 

DOT. 

The officiating clergyman at the wedding was Alfred’s companion of 
76 



‘answers to corbespondents’ 

the Continental tour of six years before, the Rev. and Hon. E. V. R. 
Powys, who held a living not far from Coventry. Alfred had kept in 
touch with him and had cycled out to consult him just before leaving 
Coventry to ask his advice about the ChurHi as a vocation for his brother 
Ccdl, who was thinking of taldng Holy Orders. At the same time, he 
mentioned* his approaching marriage and Powys had offered to perform 
the ceremony. Recalling it, Powys wrote: 'It was one of the prettiest 
weddings imaginable, the extreme youth and good looks of the bride and 
bridegroom being most attractive.* Alfred was above middle height, 
though not tall, and the good looks of hU school days had become those 
of the handsome young man. Mary's prettiness was set off by a milk-and- 
roses complexion which was the envy of her sex. Their happiness glowed 
about them. It was much remarked on by those present, Alfred had sent 
his mother a little note by hand from nis lodgings the first thing that 
morning; 

In Bed, 

My Wedding Day. 

Mv darling Mother,— Give the bearer my brown portmanteau. I hope the 
weather will cleat up. Am feeling very, very happy. 

Your very loving sod, 

ALFRED 

The wedding was reported in Gco^c Jealous’s Hampstead & Hi^hgate 
Express of ApS 14, 1888, in the resounding tlieh/s of local journalism: 

. . bride charmingly attired . . . long tulle veil . . . bouquet of liles-of- 
the-vallcy ... six bridesmaids in costumes of white china silk with hats 
en suite. . . Lilics-of-the- valley were thereafter the bridegroom’s favourite 
flower. The presents were ‘unusually numerous and costly’, and the paper 
printed a list of ninety-five of them, including a variety of framed cn- • 
gravings, tea and coff« services and sets of aposdc spoons. Mr and Mrs 
Arthur Pearson gave asparagus tongs. (Pearson was managing Tit-Bits.) The 
list was rounded off with ‘a pair of milking stools (Mr Jack Hughes)’. 
The report concluded: ‘In the evening a dance, confined in the new 
fashion exclusively to young untnarriea friends of the bride and bride- 
groom, was given.’ The reporter of the vvedding overlooked an interesting 
point for comment. Both the bridegroom and his best man, Markv-tick, 
had sucking out of their jacket pockets a folded ‘dummy’ copy of Answers 
to Correspondents. It had been Alfred's idea that the unpublished new paper 
should receive some of the blessings of the day. He wore to bis mother 
on the fint day of the honeymoon; 

18, Alexandra Gardens, 

Folkestone. 

My dwlmg Mother,— Just a line to tcU )'ou how happy we are, and how com- 


77 



NOBTHCUFFE 


fortable. What will please yon, I know, is that wc are having a very, very 
economical honeymoon. 

What a happy day yesterday was. Hic luppiest in all my life. Good-night, 
my dearest Mother. 

Your loving Boy, 

. ALFRED 

I cannot tell you how it pleased me to see you kiss my darling so affectionately. 
It is what I have wished for for yean. 

During the honeymoon, Markwick arrived from London for a further 
talk about the produedon of the paper destined to become known as 
Answers. Alfred had worked out the costs and had resolved that ;(^I,000 
would be needed to launch it with safety. That took into account the 
promised printing credit from the Uiffc firm. The only chance of getting 
the money seemed to be in Matkwick’s power to pcrsiude the Beaumonts 
to put more capital into Carr & Co. Markwick had undertaken to try. 
He bad already made an unsuccessful approach for ^500 to a Daily 
Telegraph colleague, Hall Richardson. 

Has call on die Harmsworths at Folkestone was a break in his journey 
to Viarreggio, where the Beaumonts had a villa. Alfred and Maty saw 
him off by steamer to Boulogne. As they walked together to the pier, 
Alfred's attention was caught by a piece of orange-coloured paper floating 
down to the pavement from an upper window. He went forward and 
picked it up, liking the colour. When the steamer left harbour, he wrapped 
the bit of coloured paper round die ‘dummy’ copy of Answers which he 
was carrying and waved goodbye widi it. Markwick had promised to 
telegraph if his journey succeeded. The telegram consisted of one word; 
‘Joy.’ It meant that Beaumont was willing to put up another thousand 
pounds. 

Alfred Harmsworth, senior, to Cecil Harmsworth: 

3, Essex Court, 

Temple. 

30th April, 1888 

My dear Souffles, — The wedding as you hear was very splendid. My only 
disappomtment in the ceremony was die absence of yourself and Hildebrand. 
Boo IVyvyan aged 7] wouldn’t go— said he ‘wasn’t going to fag up to Hamp- 
stead . 

Money is very scarce and demands very plentiful but you are not forgotten. 
I have an offer of a stool in a stockbroker’s office for one of the boys. I wanted 
rather for Bunny [Haroldj to go in for it, but as there would be no salary for 
the first year, he hesitates. The offer of course is a very valuable one and opens 
up a fair prospect not only of 3 con^etence but of a fortune in the future .... 

, Your loving father, 

ALFRED H. 


78 



Alfred Harmswonh’s ‘Dummy' beadline for bis new paper, roughed out 
on a copy of Tit-BUs 


IHTERESTIHC. EXTRR0RD1NAJ?Y. AmUSlHC. 



W" ON EVERY SUBJECT UNDER THE SUN. “W 


TtiJc bhxk for the piprr wkick hicr bad a »»wJd-H7df d/^saon as A^suvrs 





NORTHCUFFE 


Alfred and Molly returned from Ac honeymoon to begin married life 
at 31 Pandora Road, Dennington Park, N.W., later known as West 
Hampstead, a small house in a newly-built terrace, which figures bravely 
if forlornly in the dazzling perspective of their social ascent. Its rent ^vas 
^26 a year. Though the name had its suggestion of luck, Alfred never 
liked Pandora Road. A trade journal propnetor, Greville Montgomery, 
who later founded the Building Exhibidon. remembered going down the 
stairs of his office in Adelphi in that year, 1888, and meeting ‘a striking 
looking young fellow with shining eyes’ who asked where a certain office 
was. A publication on the top floor had failed and the furniture had been 
advertised for sale in the Daily Telegraph. ‘What do you want with office 
fumituref Montgomery asked, struck by Ws youthfulness. ‘Oh, I’m start- 
ing a new paper,’ was the reply. ‘I see,’ said Montgomery, privately 
amused by the young man’s assurance. ‘And what are you going to call 
it?’ 'Answers to Correspondents,* the young man said and went bounding 
on up the stairs towards his remarkable future. 

Geraldine Mary Hatmswotth to Cecil Harmsworth in Dublin: 

94, Boundary Road, 

4th May, 1888 

My dear Cecil, — I enclose a small dieque which will meet the present emer- 
gency and hope to be able to send you a little more shortly. As we gave a picture 
for you, Alfred ought to send you the money you told him to keep For the 
present. The happy pair have returned. I have not seen them yet. 1 heat there is 
an account of the wedding in the ‘Ladies’ Pictorial’ of last week giving all the 
presents, etc. I have not seen it myselfi 

Papa’s voice is snll bad, otherwise we are all well. Dot goes regularly to tbe 
type-writing and hopes to be able to make a little money out of it. Bonchie is 
at school again. They reduced the fee to £2 this term on account of his illness 
last term. So it was not all lost. 

You ought to look Aunt E.F. up, also the Miss Flemings, 17, Wellington 
Road. I bdieve Tuesday evenings suit diem best and if you can spare rime it 
would be well, as it is the duty of young people to enliven the lives of elderly 
ones if they can. I have not been warm for months. 

Your loving 

MOTHER 

Molly Harmswordi had been reedving an allowance from her father, 
Milner. Now, Alfred insisted on providing it, apparently not 
liking the implication that he %vas in no position to do so. 

While the tuture beckoned him with brilliant hopes, the late 1880s saw 
the fortunes of his family decline to thdr lowest point. It was reached in 
soad as well as economic terms when arrears of rent forced them to give 
up the house in Boundary Road. It bad been their home for eleven years. 


80 





Rose Cottage, ■Wle of Healib, Hampttcad, with {kft io np/,fl Haroid 
Alfred, and theit cld«t shtcr Geraldine ^ ’ 




Tk Henley House School footbnll tom, 1881. Alfred Hnm.svotdi Is second from the left in the back rose 



‘answers to correspondents 

It had seen the high spirits of childhood pass into the grave purposefolneK 
of youth. The house had contained diem all m roomy if sparse comfort 

and it had afforded privacy if not peace for Alfred Hatmmorth, the 6thcr. 

Tailing with them what remained of dieit fnmimre, 

smaU lately-built terrace house in the oeighbounng suburb of Brondra- 

buty. Its font windows overlooked a cemeterv. Soon after they had 

atfoed there, Harmsworth, senior, happened to kn on the 

in the font parlour. It broke away from ^ wall under his ““ 

fell in pieces about the fireplace. Unlike Men ““'f" 

pieces fo not customarily evoke superstinoiis fears. TP' 

L day at Fairllght, 2 Wse Terrace. Salusbnry Road, Bronde*ury 
can be seen now as a symbol of the imminent fosolunon of the &i^y a^ 
a domestic entity. The 'high cabal of time and die ocean was about to 
work a momentous change in die Harmsworth circumstmeen 
The Salusbuiy Road house was always an 
the older chilSi. The fourth boy. 

■those terrible days'. Their &dter wrote to Cecd; No ”7^“ 

I feel I am thrashhig the wind.’ He was «.ved 7* X'’ vou^„r 

followed it. The Ian sat in' “L±av*L'r: w!r" 

children t 
scenes 1 : 


wed it. The man sat in the smaU font hdl, 

Iren took turns in keeping him company. Xm 

es between Geraldine and her husbani The children dreaded them. 


Hiving roughed out a final 'dummy of his proposed “ * W,' 
of TU-Eils M April 14 . 1888). Alfred Harmswor* cnbb ed ms™ 
tions to the printer in the margins givm| it the se canine of the 

of the numL I normally denonng a fc', ““™P,°aders 

figure 3 was that the nde of die paper 

whose queries were being answered. Numb tp- a limited supply 

until the volume for the year had been XfiSg 

of copies bearing those numbers was speaaUy printed for readers wisnmg 

to have the full set for binding. , , u r_.* jjjyg of 

According to the evidence of the bound 
Answers to Correspondents — ridiculously mme , -.i, pages, is 

dated June a, 1888. It had twelve mg's- Number !• 

dated June m, and is believed by some “fTfpmE is 

family to have been the first issue seen by e pu - P t 

boldly faced in the cdi'7»l “ 14 we ai™et uSfons before 

number is a necessary makeshift (how could T 

we had any,). . . .’ Doubt remains about 

hshed issue of this Wstoncally mtciomg F' 

positors, George Shuttleworth, said mat Numb 



NORTHCLIFFE 

‘just a few No. is were printed, that was all.’ (Neither was the final issue 
oi Answers, dated February i8, 1956. seen by the public. A printers’ strike 
prevented it from being put on sale.) 

The fint copy to be sold over die counter at 26 Paternoster Square, on 
what Alfred later recalled as 'a sweet June morning’, was bought by Max 
Pemberton. ‘Mr Carr had the honour of selling it to him*, Alfred told a 
shareholders’ meeting in 1896. Of that issue, 12,000 copies were sold, 
nearly all by street vendors operating within a narrow radius of Fleet 
Street. They were particularly active at horse-bus stops, leaping aboard 
and bullying passengers to buy the new paper. It is probable that a much 
larger number of copies was printed: 60,000, according to a trade paocr 
report. In Answers for May 28, 1892, Alfred Harmsworth disclosed that 
he had ‘hit upon the plan— since imitated until the public are thoroughly 
weary of it — of giving away an immense number of copies of the earlier 
issues in order to fandiarizc the multitude with the journal and create a 
demand’. 

A journalist, Frank Boyd, who later became editor of The Pelican, 
bought a copy of the first issueof AMnwrion Ludgate Hill and was amused 
because the newsvendor offering it to him said: ‘Fust number of Wntwrwr 
to Correspondinx’ Boyd recalled it as ‘a mean, wretched-looking little 
production with “amateur" written all over it’. He said that ‘it looked as 
if it had not a million to one chance of succeeding’. The paper did not 
begin to sell until the following Saturday. Price one penny, and printed 
on cream-coloured paper, it had no cover and no advertisements. ‘What 
the Queen Eats’ ('game she cannot bear’); ‘Strange Things Found in 
Tunnels’, ‘Narrow Escapes &om Burial Alive’, 'Do Women Live Longer 
Than Men?’, ‘How to Cure Freckles’, ‘What has become of Tichbomet’ 
(echo of the century’s cause cdlibre), ‘Why Jews Don’t Ride Bicycles’,' 
'Remarkable Arrests’ — this was the formula for flattering the self-esteem 
of the beneficiaries of the new elementary education system and the stuff 
of the Philisrinism wWch Matthew Arnold feared was about to take 
charge of the world. ‘We arc a sort of Universal Information provider. 
Anybody who reads out paper for a year svill be able to converse on 
many subjects on which he was entirely ignorant. He will have a good 
stock of anecdotes and jokes and will indeed be a pleasant companion.’* 

Alfred Harmsworth addressed wrappers, folded circulars and wrote all 
the articles, paragraphs and jokes for die early issues. The guinea for a 
short story was for some rime his only outside payment. He and his wife 
cut articles from American newspapers and magazines and rewrote them 
for English readers. The jokes wludi were used as ‘fill-ups’ all through die 
paper were lifted freely from sources neater home, not excluding Tit-Bits, 
and they are of biographical significance in that they reflect a sense of 

* Atiswtrs, Febnury i6, 1889. 


82 



‘answers to correspondents 

humour that never developed much above the Ansiuers level. His brother 
Cedi, reading at the British Museum during a vacation, made some notes 
about tbo origins of the Bank of Engbmi Alfred insisted that they were 
to be written out in the form of a reply to a reader: Cat. WJ.ee me my 
has ahoul the history of the Bank oJBngtanil asfa Jomt Stock • In 1 “'“ 
Cecil's contribution appeared in Answers for Angust 25, 1^888. ^tcr a (cw 
months outside contributors were encouraged. One of them, m that tost 
year, was H. G. Wells, who said that it provided hiin wnth a few mcM 
shillings a week’. Another was lovat Fraser, who heame one of the 

leading newspaper controversialists of the First World Wat an a . 

Informingthe journalism of George Nevmes and m a less earnest if not 
necessarily less sympathetic sense that of Allied tt^worth was on 
awareness of the urge towards self-improvement syhtch pervaded aud- 
Victorian morahty and hallowed contemporary busmess mstmeu. to tot 
tespea, George Newnes had the advantage of more tlun “S'- “P'" 

cnce in the Manchester fancy goods trade can har^y vc ce .. j 
him in his career of popia? publishing. Neither J'“fSol 
though Newnes had been for a few teems at the City of * 

where a future Prime Minister. H. a Asqmth. was a 
time. Both were susceptible by upbringing and tempctamimt “ 
help gospel proclaimed by Samuel Smiles m a book, tot P™“ “ 
1859, wKch has gone on selling ever smee. Hu PP . 

moral justification of their activities, which encouraged knowmgness 

Harmswdrth's grand imaginings in 'Schemo NUgmfieo wem 
The paper migL easUy hJve fkiled. lUt'o*" SX siv « 

Alfred himself made no secret of that possibihty. ^ ^ j 

the Priory Laivn Tennb Club at West Hampstead tot he ha d tad no 
luck so Z as a pubUsher and tot if atoireti to « a mStog 

wodd be ;m a L too^gh ®a 

Led aftefthe tat weei; it had dropprf to ?.'>”• '".*X,'’Xid re- 
months It did not rise above 20,000. '1 ^ t m*c t pj! 
peatcdly to Harold one cs'cning, scemmg dapera c y sveek. 

die amc ,00m at Pandor. Road which was hu Uie 

The paper was still being printed in Coventry ' “S' 

Ildfe I, wa, an awkivard arrangement, reqmtog fXd'IjJ 

to the Midlands, involving tunc and money. chances in 

necessary to telegraph late material to Coventry . , jysr • London 
the make-up. It could only be done by press time 

manager. Dasvbam. and \ws a further source of difficulty, r^wr p 

83 



NORTIICinTE 

at Coventry «’ith one week’s issue, he founi a third of a column not Wlcd. 
There was no overmattcr to fit the space. He immediately wrote a filler 
for the waiting machines, heading itt Can Monkeys Smoket It produced 
a correspondence which went on fct months. Shutticworth, tJic com- 
positor. remembered the future Northcliffe moving restlessly about the 
printing shop ‘when the scissors and paste were at work'. Writing tWCTty- 
five years later, Shuttlcworth recalled ‘a scene’ about overtime work. ‘You 
were so anxious to get the paper out to the trade. You and Mr Uiffc were 
often at loggerheads.’ A member of the CuvetKrv Standarii staff remem- 
bered William lUffe following Alfred along Smitnford Street, Coven^, 
caUing after him in a tone of extreme annoyance, and Alfred shoutliig 
back at him over his shoulder: 'You lack die mmners of a gendcmanl 
The IhfFes’ printing bill ran up to £/JSO, according to the recollection 
of William Ihffc’s younger son Edivard, now Lord Iliffe. William IliHe 
decided that the time had come to tcU Harmsworth dut he could have no 
further accommodation. Holding him off widi reassurances, Harmsworth 
gave him bills for three, six and nine months and had the printing contract 
iramfcncd to AUen &: Scott, at 30 Douverie Street, London, the printers 
of Tit'Bits. This svas an economy of both space and time. It reduced the 
distance between the editorial offices and the printers from a hundred 
miles to half a mile. 


George Newnes had made a great thing of competitions as a means of 
advancing the circulation of his paper. He was not being original in doing 
so. A competition prize of ^r,ooo had been offered by a journal of the 
1860$. But competirions had as much to do sviili the grosvth of Til-Bils 
as its reading matter. In 1883, ‘Tit-Bits Villa’, Dulwiw, London, S.E., a 
seven-room freehold house awarded as first prize in one of liis com- 
petitions, had become a place of pilgrimage for Sunday trippers. Buried 
gold was another of his circulation sdicmcs. Clues scattered tlirough tlie 
instalments of a serial story written for the purpose enticed readers into 
taking part in what became a great public treasure hunt, \vith five tubes 
eac^ containing a hundred gold sovereigns as the prize. They had been 
buried in the verge by the roadside neat St. Albans. Within a few hours 
of the appearance oftne last instalment of the serial a cyclist rode out from 
Hatfield and dug up the 'treasure'. The widespread pubUdty which Ti'f- 
Bits received marked a new chapter in periodical publishing. Newnes had 
applied his experience of business life to Journalism. As well as his early 
traimng in the Manchester warehouses, he had an arithmetical mind; he 
happened also to be a good chess player. Realizing that he sold space to 
advertisers who were concerned widi its circulation rather than with its 


84 



NORTHCUTFE 


a week at an hotel and budgeting, even so, foe ‘a profit of from ss. to lOJ. 
on every ticket sold’. ‘Prize packets’ of books, boxes of ‘chemical trims’, 
pens and other articles were offered to teaden at temptingly low prices, 
always with the idea of bringing in a direct profit as well as of making the 
paper better known. The offer of a junior clerkship in the ofScc of 
Answers as the prize in a competition blandly disregarded Newnes's fint 
use of the same idea some years before, when the successful entrant had 
been a young man named Cyril Arthur Pcanon, soon to become a com- 
petitor of both Newnes and Harmswordi in die business of publishing 
periodicals. The Answers offer was glossed with the novelty of making 
women eligible, an intuitive touch of Alfred Harmsworth’s whichbrought 
in over 10,000 entries. 

The telephone and the typewriter were to effect a remarkable change of 
emphasis between the sexes, a process begun by the women factory 
workers for whom the revolution in industry provided a way of escape to 
economic freedom. The growing pace of invention and production was 
bringing into existence new kinm of business concerned with financing, 
distributing and marketing, and these in their turn generated the many 
forms of administrative activity which have evolved into modem ofEce 
hfe. The telephone and the typewriter did much to release women from 
their classic servitude. Thougn not among the list of accomplishments ex- 
pected of entrants in its ‘Prize Situation* competition, typewritine was a 
new development justi^ing a long artide in Answers, whidi boasted 
editorially of employing Vour lady typewriters’ to help deal with the a, 000 
letters received each week. Alfred I^rmswotth wrote in his 'Editorial 
Chat’: ‘The type-written letters we send out from the office attract a good 
deal of curiosity, and many are the appbeations we receive for information 
as to the method in which our correspondence is conducted. . . . There is no 
doubt that within a very short rime the vast majority of banks, insurance 
companies and commercial houses will use a typewriter almost to the 
exclusion of the pen.’ The confident editorial forecast was accompanied 
by the reminder that the originating impulse to produce a typewriter 
had been English and that the Americans had been ‘very smart’ in per- 
fecting it. Meanwhile, Queen Victoria declined absolutely to look at any 
document which was not \vrittm by hand and a Q.C. publicly refused a 
typewritten brief. 

Classes for instruction in typewriting were being formed in London, 
and the go-ahead young editor of Ansurers was commending them to his 
lady readers’ as a sign of the comity new times. ‘We are strongly of the 
opinion tlut, in many departments of commercial and literary £k, ladies 
ate superior to their admirers.’ Instead of the subsequently familiar 
exercise line, ‘Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the 
party , the apprentice typists of die period were taught to tap out texts 
86 



‘answers to correspondents 

ind moral maxims like The wages of sin is death’ and ‘Clean hands and 

a sound conscience’. 1.11 Air j 

IlifFc’s compositors at Coventry had often complamed about Aured 
Harmsworth’s ‘shockingly bad’ handwriting, from which they had to set 
their ‘copy’. He became a willing apprentice to the tvpcwntcr and had 
evidently made some kind of bargain wtii the London agents or t e 
Remington machine. An advertisement for it appears as a printed footnote 
on the sheet of office paper which he used one cvenmg for typing a letter 
to his mother, who had just left on a rare visit to her rclanvw m IreUnd. 
The ribbon was Cambridge-blue and his use of the touch-bar tar from 
assured. 


26. Paternoster Square, E.C. 

9th October, 18S8 

My darling Mothcr.-Dy tlm rime you arc having die worst ^ and ‘ ’m 
ntting here k Paternoster Square (s o’dock) trusting there is not much of a 

“ To hope that you are going to nuke up year n^d for °[ 

your holiday. Thrie is no cause for worry. & even if there 
do you or anyone ebe any good. Make up yom i^d for a comoUte 
ask Dotty to keep at home as much as ^sible. You ouglit 
on the cheerful side of life. You have a KurSd for 

the world and all doing well. Do. my ^hng stay in bed 

a cheerful holiday; enjoy yourself, go a^ut as mu^ as p V 

as late as you can so tLt me stay may do you good. Gn c m> Y 

& remember me to my unde and cousins. 

Your fond boy. 

GxJdinc Harmswonh was fifty. Ike lossmcas '’‘'‘P™ 
associated with het "f'C- r>niK.ndtitcy stas not a chatanen 


latmswotth svas litty. ... 

h her time of hfe. Despond^cv- event 

ttt natnic. Dut ssith the moral ^ a 


hernature.Dutwilhthcmoralstrcnguiwhicli "^.llv Contrary' to 

a dsaidenec rarely peteeived by those avho met t'' 
the legend which Ms grown up about her, she w 
presence rather tlun of strong snind. ^ ^ 

In eight months Ansu’ers circulanon had J..nukcr and it was 

It was lair progress, but the paper sn-m not ye a ^ of England 

‘till unknown to a host of potential new ra ^ fs^o cnance 

puucularly. There Newmes’s 37 r-Bi» ri^ounced 

JO add to the arciilauon figure Dublin. Harmsu-ortli 

that hn two sisters were naming to &gian - , • ^ ^.^fy jjop 

urged him to arrange that rhes- .fd S. 

and ask for Ansu'ers at the bookst^ Obu^g tl,c piper’s 

Nn.v competition ideas wctc med Man’, the out- 

fonu.10. A serul. *Tlic Confessions of a TicLct-oi 



northcuffe 


a week at an hotel and hndgcting, cyeii so, foe ‘a profit ^s- to “S. 

on every ticket sold’. 'Prize packets’ ofbooks, hoxes °f ’ 
pens and other articles were offered w readers at J 

Lays with the idea of bringing in a direct profi^t as weU as “'f 

papei better known. The offer of a lanwr ckrkship “ ° 

Ms,m, as the prize in a competition blan^y W 

use of the same idea some years before, when the successful “‘rimt tad 
been a young man named Cyril Arthur Pearson soon to ^ccom' a ^ 

petitor of both Newnes and Harmswotth m the busmess o p g 

periodicals. The Ansimi offer was glossed with the 

women eligible, an intuitive touch of Alfred Harmswotth s which brought 


in over 10,000 entries. ,, .r 

The telephone and the typewriter were to effect a remarkable cha g 
emphasis between the sexes, a process begun hy the womOT ^ 
workers for whom the revolution in industry provided a way o cscap 
economic freedom. The growing pace of invention and production ^ 
bringing into existence new Idnas of business concerned with 
distributing and marketing, and these in their turn generated the ^ f 
forms of administrative activity which have evolved mto modem on 
life. The telephone and the typewriter did much to release women iro 
their classic servitude. Though not among the list of accomplishments ex- 
pected of entrants in its ‘Prize Situation’ competition, typewnMg was 
new development justifying a long article in Answers, wmm boas e 
editorially of employing ‘four lady typewriters’ to help ded i 

letters received each week. Alfred Harmswotth wrote in his Editona 
Chat’ : The type-written letters we send out from the office attract a goo 
deal of curiosity, and many arc the applications we receive for information 
as to the method in which our correspondence is conducted. . . . There is no 
doubt that wthin a very short time the vast majority of banks, insurance 
companies and commercial houses will use a typewriter almost ^ j 
exclusion of the pen.’ The confident editorial forecast was accompanie 
by the reminder that the originating impulse to produce a typewriter 
had been English and that the Americans had been ‘very smart in per- 
fecting it. Meanwhile, Queen Victoria declined absolutely to look at my 
document which was not written by hand and a Q.C. publicly refused a 
typesvritten brief. ' 

Classes for instruction in typewriting were being formed in London, 
and the go-ahead young editor of Answers was commending them to ms 
‘lady readers’ as a sign of the conung new times. ‘We are strongly 
opinion that, in many departments of commercial and literary Ufe, wdj'* 
are superior to their aamiren.’ Instead of the subsequently fanulrir 
exercise Unc, ‘Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the 
party , the apprentice typists of the period were taught to up out texts 


86 



‘answers to correspondents’ 

and moral maxims like ‘The wages of sin is death’ and ‘Clean hands and 
a sound conscience’. 

Iliffe's compositors at Coventry had often complained about Alfred 
Harmsworth’s ‘shockingly bad’ h^ulwridng, from which they had to set 
their ‘copy’. He became a willing apprentice to the typewriter and had 
evidently made some kind of bargain with the London agents for the 
Remington machine. An advertisement foe it appears as a printed footnote 
On the sheet of ofBce paper which he used one evening for typing a letter 
to his mother, who had just left on a tare visit to her relatives in Ireland. 
The ribbon was Cambridge-blue and his use of the touch-bar far from 
assured. 


26, Pacemosfer Square, E.C. 

9th October, :888 

My darling Mother, — ^By tins rime you are having the worst of it and I am 
sitting here in Paternoster Square (j ©’dock) trusting there is not much of a 
sea on. 

I do hope that you are going to make up your mind for real enjoyment of 
your hohday. There is no cause for worry, & even if there were it would not 
do you or anyone else any good. Make up your mind for a complete rest. I will 
ask Dotty to keep at home as much as possible. You ought to look sometimes 
on the cheerful side of life. You have a une and fond crop of sons going out into 
the world and all domg well. Do, my darling Mother, make up your mind for 
a cheerful holiday; eiuoy yourself, go about as much as possible and stay in bed 
as lace as you can so that the stay may do you good. Give my love to my aunt 
& remember me to my unde and cousins. 

Your fond boy. 

Geraldine Harmsworth svas fifty. The lowness of spirit may have been 
associated with her time of life. Despondency was not a characteristic of 
her nature. But with the moral strength whi^ distinguished it there went 
a diffidence rarely perceived by those who met her casually. Contrary to 
the legend wluch has grown up about her, she was a woman of strong 
presence rather than of strong mind. 

In eight months Answers circulation had risen to 30,000 copies a week. 
It was fair progress, but the paper was not yet a money-maker and it ^vas 
still unkno\vn to a host of potential new readers in the north of England 
particularly. There Newnes’s Ti/-Bits held undisputed sway. No chance 
to add to the circulation figure was neglected. When Carr announced 
that his two sisters were coming to England from Dublin, Harmssvorth 
urged him to arrange that they should get out of the train at every stop 
and ask for Anrtverj at the boolatall. Olmgingly they did so. ^ 

New competition ideas were tried with varying effects on ^e paper’s 
fortunes. A serial, The Confessions of a Tickei-of-Lcavc Man , the out- 

87 



NOBTHCUFTB 


come of a chance meeting between Alfred Harmswotth and an ex-convict, 
proved a dedded success. A surviving member of the staff of Carr & Co. 
remembered the ex-convict as being ‘somewhat refined’. He called 
regularly at the office where Alfred asked lum questions and out of his 
answers composed each instalment as it was required- Prison life was un- 
failing in its interest for Alfred Hanmworth. He visited Wormwood 
Scrubs prison and the Black Museum at Scotland Yard on the same day. 
Soon afterwards he was shown over Pcntonvillc Prison. Next on his list 
of similar experiences was Borstal; ‘Spent a most interesting day there. 
Alfred wrote to the Beaumonts: 

26, Paternoster Square, 

London, B.C. 

1st March, 1889 

My dear Captrin and Mrs Beaumont, — You will be glad to hear that the 
present week has been quite our best $0 far. In fact, with the exception of lUffes’ 
acccount, we feel that almost for the first time smee we started we can breathe. 
I hope you have noticed the improvement in the quality of the paper. 

It is really wonderful that die circulation has increased at all, for we have been 
having diabolical weather, snow, bail and rain, without half a day’s sunshine. 
1 trust that it is not so with you. Wc have received about 30,000 postcards in the 
Great Advertisers’ competition, and may look for some increase m circulation 
when we publish the result the week after next. 

This week’s Til-Bits is very bad. The Wine Merchant has been awayfoctwo 
months straight off. Perhaps it is the effea of that stuff he has drunk for the past 
eight years. 

With love from all of us. 

Yours very sincerely, 

A. C. HARMSWORTH 

'Wine Merchant’ was a reference to George Newncs’s partnenhip or 
investment in a business of that kind. It may also have been a gibe at his 
drinking habits, which later became a problem for others as well as for 
himself. He was a diabetic whose personal history suggested that he drove 
his powers well past their limit. His energies in the first years of his career 
as a publisher were severely taxed by the need for keeping ahead of 
mutators of Tit-Bffr. Within six mon^s of its appearance on the book- 
stalls, twelve similar papers were brought out by would-be rivals and by 
the end of a year the number was twenty-two. Tt bas always been die 
unhappy lot of Til-Bits to be imitated by persons with no ideas of their 
own , he complained in his ecUtorial columns. Now he was faced with 
diallenge from young Harmswotth; ‘the first real opposition I have 
had , he srid. While his sense of grievance may have been tempered by 
Hs earlier necessary dependence on literary material in other periodicals 
for the success of his own, George Newnes not only had to endure, in 

88 



‘answers to correspondents’ 

isolation, the satire of Punch hut the provocation of seeing the younger 
man plagiarizing, also, his mediods ofrcadiing the public. Harmsworth’s 
venture had to survive in a period of exceptional publishing enterprise. 
In the year which saw the birth o( Ansivers, 1888, just on two hundred 
new periodicals were launthed, a considerably higher figure than that for 
the first year of Tit-Bits. 

A friend of Alfred Harmsworth’s, calling at the Paternoster Square 
office on a dark November day, tripped over a pile of Answers on the 
floor, ‘I know it’s not much of a paper,’ Alfred said in his quietest, almost 
whispering tone, ‘but you necdn t be so rough with your critidsm.’ 


89 



chapter Five 


‘A Pound a Week for Life’ 


‘CntcuLATiQN Still going up,’ Alfred wrote to the Beaumonts at the end 
of March 1889, ‘but the financial position still cames anxiety. We do not 
think the paper has increased so rapidly before at any time and we shall 
print for next week, 33,000. We arc striving might and main to meet 
An«i& Scott’s account for next month. We have three svecks to get the 
money in and we have £70 towards it at the bank.’ 

With the appearance of .dnstrers in its bright orange cover, an ad- 
vertising agent, T. B. Browne, of Queen Victoria Street, on the look- 
out for new business, undertook to try to sell its advertising space on 
commission, at the rate of ^(^30 per page. When he booked a first order 
for a quartet page series, Alfred Harmsworth and Dargaville Cart waltzed 
round the little office. 

The weekly printing bill of f 6 o was a continuing worry, increased 
when Newnes announced that Tif-BtVs would pay ^loo to the next-of- 
kin of any reader killed in a railway accident with a copy of the paper in 
his pocket. The offer startled the public. It exploited a familiar sentiment, 
the gloomy Victorian view of human life as a funeral procession from 
the cradle to tire grave. But it did not at fint produce the circulation tonic 
which presumably Newnes had hoped for. A woman whose husband had 
been kfiled in a railway smash in die West of England had written to him 
asking for monetary help and Newness biographer stated that the idea of 
‘free insurance’ arose from diat incident. Three years later, Alfred Harms- 
worth insisted in his editorial notes in ilnni'erj that free railway insurance 
had originated in France. ‘It is not an Ei^lish invention. It was used in 
France, and also in America, long before it was adopted here.’ 

Having announced his offer, Newnes (bund himself in coi^ct with the 
Inland Revenue authorities. Every insurance policy was liable to stomp 
duty; penalty for infringement, ^20. *!£ this view be correct,’ he wrote 


90 



‘a poxjnd a 


FOR UFE 


cditoruUy, ‘we have laid ourselves opal to fines of s=ve^ hunicd 
millions sterling . . . sufficient to pay o#the National Debt. He received 
a writ, later withdraw, the law, in its own measured time, allowed tree 
insurance to go fonvard. Adapting it to suit his circidaoon-wmg pur- 
poses, Newnes initiated rivalries that long outlated his day. The mtcnsc 
md sometimes unseemly ‘free msuiance‘ battles bemeen the FP™,' ““X 
newspapers of the 193“. in which the benefit offered to 
reader rose as high as £ia.0CK>, were in direct hne from the TK-Bilr ^loo 
scheme of the late 1880s. , n r* . . 

Youne Al&cd Harmsworth was having a isagrceable foreustc ot the 
competitive violence to come. He wrote to the Beaumonts m a o 
alarm: ‘We cannot cope with the enemy if they are to havt mch a 
material advantage.’ He was in negotiation, he 
insurance scheme in Atisivery. it was a matter of getting c . 
fiom one of several insurance companies. The pm^g £ 

five weeks in arrears. ‘We have every reason to hope 
able to meet it. ‘He suggested that there was consolaoon m , 

the Commander-in-CMef of the British Amy, 

had bought a copy of the paper. ‘Let os hope that ^ Royal Rmas 

enjoys it? A weel after annouMng the adtisietrs 

was able to send Beaumont the welcome wolds: 'X''~ 

public had responded. There ivas a ’".^XtheJ 

Ulcs. He reporied at the same time that Tit-B.ls w« te“t^S 

wild’ and tit Newnes had had a tow itnth his pnniers 

dm, ms ‘very closel/. The Amm.’ free °f'”Slhe 

curious pro^o: ‘Suicides ivill not under any 

benefit, of the above insurance.’ No one m the ofa 

absutdity until readers drew atttmtion to it. jjj min^ 

tag was beginning to repeat TO ANSWBis sucitT 

orrail%vayuScn;WIIENYOUTRAVELBYTItETRAI , 

"^^Zick. the barrister, ^ been co” Hins^th 

matten which Alfred considered ooc^ ^ ^°^monts and their money 
stand on the £ict that he had introd^ 
and that he ^vas their spokesman m the office. 

lucky Irishman, not interested tn of Carr\' Co. 

the responsibilities ofhis job. A rcarrangemen , . jjjj 

wa, clSrly nceesury. The 

mental inventiveness and optirmsm of A known as Answers 

taken over from Carr A Co by a nesv ,karcs of 

Company Limited. 'Marksvick 140, his half-sister. 

9 * 



‘a pound a week for life 

the returns and turnover have got quite out of Carr’s hold. It takes him all his 
tiinc to collect accounts. Harold is 21, very cautious and used to managing a 
large department. We should have liked to consult you. but knew you would 
approve the choice. Bookkeeping is as mudi his hobby as trying to hek Tit-Bits 

” Ihavc Icm i b!t sleepless and headachy the Ust two weeks and shaU spend 
Easter at the seaside. Maty sstas in here today and joins me m love to both ana 
‘Answers Limited’ sends its embraces to the C.-in-C. and Chairman. 

Excuse damnable handwriting, it is frecring. 

Yours very sincerely, 

A. C. HARMSWORTH 


Harold Hatmsworth had not decided to give up a Civil Service career 
%vithout much worrying thought. Cecil Harmsworth said that it was a 
subject of ‘anxious debates in the faindy’ His cast of mind was mote souet 
than Alfred's. He tended to be sospicious of his feUosv men and there sstas 
a strong sttain of pessimism in his nature. His humour was sardome 
Phj-sicaUy, he was the taller. In appearance and stamp of pctsoiulity he 
was ricia and somewhat unbending in his earlier years. 

Unlike each other in outlook, those nvo Harmsworth brothers w etc m 
effective antithcsisi in kinds of ability and m Sr 

plemented the other, some would say perfectly. J'*'''*’, S 
joutnahsm and the pubUc taste amounted to gmms but he had n“ i™"!* 
for figures or arithmetical propositions, as S.s school record sho ved 
Harold’s competence in that line of thooght mtd praet.ee could frnly be 
called masterly. He could reduce the most inmcate fmaneui problem to 

the terms of a simple mental calculation. - ,„el ninitth 

Alfred’s charm and good looks, the fmc lines of his 
his poi«. came from hn father. Harold had SaS 

ofhismothcr.inhcntingthrouchhcrsomcoft c q , . .i- 

Maffen, die Ulster-Scon unintiradter 

as if he were insns.bly plumed and spn^t W 

Harold's personal style was the reve^ of ronunttc. If pimple 
to look af lum m the street, a, drey drd ^Alfred, u 

end of hi, days when he could be pourted out as the nauon s third nehes. 
"’Nodring had exerersed Harold’s mind 

his brother m the burincssofdiMiivrj than the g .Arrvintr time He 

tabng that step. For Inm n rvas probably an mtmrrly 

hrd aLays bcL a vtennr of ro mirhrfore 

up and down outside a house at which he ha ti„^e,vorth said tliat 

hi could brrng hrmself .0 nng .he door bell. Ceal 

Hatold’r rhyarL came from .heir modtrr. m an exaggerated fonn . 



NORniCUFFE 

Harold Harmsworlh to the SccrcUry of the Local Marine Board: 

Mercantile Marine Office, 

St, Katherine Dock House, 

Tots’cr Hill, London. 

loth May, 1889 

Sir, Having accepted an appointment in a publisher’s office, I beg most rcy 

specrfuUy to phee in your hands my resignation of the post I now hold in this 
office. With your kind permission, I will leave on the ist pros. 

I wo jd take advantage of this opportunity to ask you to convey to the Local 
Marine Board my thanks for the great kindness which has been shown me 
during my perioa of service here. With your self, Captain Watson, and the 
other gentlemen svith whom I have served, my relations have been equally 
happy, and if for this reason alone, it is with great reluctance that I sever my 
connection svith an office where I luve spent so many pleasant days. 

I am. Sir, 

Your most obedient servant, 
HAROLD HARMSWORTH 

Writing at the same time to his father's friend, Fred Wood, the Board 
of Trade official whose influence had helped him into the Mercantile 
Manne Office, Harold expressed his sensibility of kindnesses received and 
mentioned that his salary in the new post would be higher than that of 
his rank in the Civil Service. He added, dcfcrentblly: ‘I hope that my 
action in this matter will escape your censure.’ 

‘Be wise, Harold, be wise,' Wood wTotc in a reply of many pages rich 
m Biblical allusion, ‘Hearken unto the voice of wisdom ana the lips of 
experience. Strive to advance, cettainly. but hold fast until the next step 
IS secure. The hours are so short. You wiU go farther and fare worse. Be not 
weary of well-doing. Never resign except with a pension.’ Cecil Harms- 
worth regarded Harold’s letter of resignation from the Mercantile Marine 
Office as the most important single document in the history of the family’. 
Harold left the Civil Service on June i, 1889, a few weeks after his twenty- 
first birthday. The following Monday morning he walked into 26 Pater- 
noster Square to begin work as secretary and business manager of Answers 
Co. Ltd. at £4 a week. He found the office in a state of subsiding turmoil. 
Answers had been having a great success with the latest of its novelties, 
a puzzle called 'Pigs in Clover’, consisting of a glass-topped box con- 
taining seven coloured balls, wbidi had to be enticed into position over 
corresponding coloured and lettered squanjs, spelling out ANSWERS. The 
idea had been brought into the office by a visiting American, identified in 
a trade journal as ’Mr Sam Loyd, the £imous chess problemist and puzzlist’. 
Alfred took the original specimen to his friend Klein, the music publisher, 
and they tested it together in Spiers 8c Pond’s restaurant in High Holbom. 


94 



‘a pound a week for life’ 

It was nearly rejected because tbe box weighed too much for Ae penny 
post. Then Alfred chanced to see ajar of coloured sweets in a confectioner s 
window. He bought a sample supply and solved die problem of weig t. 
Soon he was writing to the Beaumonts: 


2$, Paternoster Square, E.C. 

20tli May, 1889. 

My dcir Ciptiin and Mis Beaumont.— Wc ate so W pressed ™tli woA 
that we have scarcely time to eat. The ‘Puzde*, which we send, is y ar e 
greatest success we have ever had. , 1 • ,11 

Three factories are at work but we caimoc get them fast «ough. It is a small 
oblong box in fancy colours and contains seven balls. The object it to get 
these halls in a row. People seem quite mad about it and althoug we arg 
threepence for it, it is occasionally sold for a shilling. 

The profits are Urge, but it is the advertisemmt for wbch we are lookmg. 

Being called the ‘Answers’ puzzle and having alot of puffs of Answers up 

it wiU stamp the name of the paper upon everyone’s mind. . . 

Niwncs ms Uickballcd >t thrSavage anb tho other day. I will teU you of 

' Tto^^pe^ter is a bit out of order, so kindly excuse bonible uniting. 
Excuse more just now. With love and kisses. 

Yours very sincerely, 

A. C. HARMSWORTH. 


The effect of the puzzle's success on the formes of ™ “r 

portant in point of time as well as accountancy. The ar^non had mOTe 
than once ^een pushed up to beyond 30.000 by “'‘X?h 

petitions, but it had not gained subility at bgher than tha g ' 
meant that it was still not doing more than pay its way. Now, tha m 
the puzzle, sales had shown a sharp upward movement ^oamg to ^ 
and staying there. This result was atumed not ody y ^ 

puzzle L a new toy. but by astute promotion schernes ^ 
tricts where Answers was still litdc ^own. t 

organize Answers puzzle dubs in Gbsgow, B g Jv- i throueh 
chlter. Edinburgh, Liverpool and Delta. "“'rSn ‘3 

the paper to those readers ‘who can a^evc the fra ^rifors from all 

name oCAn,m,> in the shottest time . Two 
pans of the kingdom, including Scotland and reland, met “ 
at 4 USWIS officl A boy of foniteen broke aU the records and won £30- 

■merevet the puzzle goes it is acting as an ambassador, was the gran*^ 

loquent editorial claim. 'It is being done m trams, “ ^ 

everywhere,’ Alfred told Ac Btaumonts. A 

manager wrote in protest to die e^tOT of Answers. Y 

IS turhed, my clcrla neglect their work to try shaking the httle balls mto 



NORTHCLtFFB 


the right order.’ Soon the warning was unctuously sounded in the paper: 
‘We inform those journals which are so fond of appropriatmg our ideas 
that the Answers puzzle is fully protected and any infringement will be 
severely dealt with by the proprietor’, who may or may not have seen 
himself as an authority on die difference between legal infringement and 
bold buccaneering imitation. It was stated in Answers that there were over 
a hundred imitations of the puzzle. ‘We had nine factories making it. 
Including the American, Australian, French, German and Russian sale, 
two and a half milhon puzzles were issued.’ 

Newnes had published two of Alfred Harmsworth’s shilling books in 
conjunction \viui Carr & Co. Now that Answers was becoming a serious 
rival to Til-Bits, he petulantly dropped them from his list, earning more 
scorn from AlG:ed.^‘The opposition is taking practical shape. The great 
Judge of Wine has removed theadvertisementsof "lOOO Ways” and “All 
About Our Railways” from Ids paper and is advertising wretched books 
published long ago, which he told me only sold poorly. This is cutting off 
ms nose to spite his face with a vengeance, for he draws qmte as much 
profit as we do from the works in question. It shows what Answers is 
doing.' Alfred %vas pleased to rcpon, a little later on, that Newnes, too, 
was m arrean of payment to his printers; also that he bad been dis- 
appointed by the Tit-Bits publicity at the Paris Exhibition. ‘What we are 
gomg to do in the future we shall reveal in good time,’ it was stated in 
the heavy-fathec tone of Victorian editorial omniscience. ‘We have many 
plans and prmccts, and the large section of the public which is interested 
in watching the developments of joumalistic enterprise will derive amuse- 
ment in watchingjthe contest of popularity now being waged between 
this and a very well-known contemporary whose strenuous struggles to 
maintain its place against the new-comer are only equalled by out detet- 
rmnadon to get to the very top of the tree;’ 

The ominous word ‘boycott was heard coming out of Manchester. A 
local reading-room announced its committee's decision to stop Answers, 
‘because it is hkely to interfere with a rival which has been established as 
many years as we have mondis’, was an Answers comment. The ‘rival’ 
could only be Tit-B;ts, with its Manchester origin. Another Answers 
paragraph implied that Newnes the author of the canard that the 
articles by the ticket-of-leavemanwcrcafraud. Harmsworth gave notice, 
m prmt, that ^£500 had been deposited at the bank for payment to any 
person providing proof of the statemmt. The bickering between him and 
Newnes went on for some years. When Harmsworth drew attention to 
the novelty of printing an Answers article heading in shorthand, Newnes 
retorted that he would issue a complete shorthand edition of Tit-Bits. 
The younger man’s attitude to Newnes was that of a borrower who dis- 
likes to adime that he is one. His resentment took the familiar form of 


96 







The Hatniiworth brothers. (Lr/t K rijll) Alfrca, St JoK Coed, HJdchrrad, Loiccstor, Hirold, 

Vyvyan in front 


‘a pound a week for life’ 

patronage. An Answers article, entided ‘Popular Editors’, combined 
pseudo-magnanimity with editorial flair. 

Mr Newnes resides at a bandsome establishment known as ‘Wildcrofi,’ 
Putney Heath, but he is frequently abroad. Tll-Bils is not the only venture in 
which Mr Newnes has been interested. Some years ago he started the People’s 
Lawyer, and this year he made another joum^dc endeavour with a weekly 
called Play. These journals, however, are now defunct. 

In addition to his paper, Mr Newnes is a shareholder in The Scientific Dress- 
Cutting Association; he has just finished a sort of way between Lynton and 
Lynmouth; he has an interest in a wine merchant’s establishment, and has 
several other smaller concerns in hand. The profits of Til-Bits fluctuate between 
^22,000 and ;(]a 8 ,ooo a year. 

An echo of the old Coventry malice was heard. Answers had published 
an article on cycling. Complairmg ofits treatment of the sulyect. Wheeling 
pointed out to its readers that ’Answers is maxuged by the youth whose 
assumption of the nom-de-plume of “Arthur Pendennis’’ was an index to his 
character’. Alfred's father walked one monung that year along the Strand 
with another barrister, Louis Distin Powics, of the probate registry at 
Norwich. As they pass^ St. Mary’s Church, Harmsworth, senior, stopped 
and put his hand on his friend’s shoulders. ‘Powles, old man,’ he said with 
deep feeling, ‘I have a marveDously clever boy. We shall see him come up 
right to the top of the creel’ 


Bores, r ailin g at the office and wasting his rimev obUged Alfred to work at 
home several days a week. ‘Why should a man who has invented a pocket 
fire-escape bnng it to me? The bore 1 loathe most violently is the perpetual 
caller, the individual who has leamt my name, and who calls early and 
late “on a matter of great importance, which can only be divulged to the 
editor in secret’’.’ He published an articleon ‘Champion Barbers’. Shortly 
afterwards ‘a short, (Upper gentleman called at the office, asking to see 
him. ‘He was at first t^cn to be the head of a deputation of the un- 
employed, for behind him was a small crowd of a dozen others of gener- 
ally out-of-work appearance. Upon inqmring, it was discovered that the 
dapper gentleman had read the article . . . and had come to give us 
ocular proof of his supremacy with the razor over all the lightning shavers 
desenbed in it. He proposed to shave the “deputation” before my eyes 
and forfeit a sovereign if be “left a hair on their faces at the end of five 
mmutes”.’ 

Importimity mcreasing sviih the circulation, a few months later he felt 
It necessary to write an editorbl note: *My undertaking svitli the public is 


97 



NORTHCtUTE 


to supply tiiem with the best paper I can produce every week. I do not 
guarantee to tell them how they should curl their moustaches or cure their 
stammering. . . .* When an article writer doubted whether grass could 
grow within five miles of the highly urbanized district of Widnes in 
Lancashire, evidence to the contrary made life at Answers office difficult 
for several days after. ‘For the last four weeks envelopes and packets 
crammed tvith grass have been pouring in. . . . There is enough grass 
now in the editorial department to build a good-sized hayrick. One blade 
of grass would have satisfied m but the men of Widnes did not think so. 
One packet weighed 48 lb., and we paid ninepcnce extra postage, under 
die impression mat it was a present &om a friend in the country.’ 

At Pandora Road he had a typewriter, ‘a very fair little library’, a supply 
of periodicals from which he would cut or compile paragraphs for 
Answers, and the active help of his wife. There he wrote columns of replies 
to readers’ real or invented inquiries and many of the miscellaneous articles 
which added variety to the paper. There were weeks when he made up 
future issues in the little fioni room, widi proofs draping the backs of 
chairs and scissors and paste in constant use at his elbow. Many years after, 
looking back to those days, he said with quiet regret that he had never 
been so happy. He thought nothing of walking the four miles or so to 
Paternoster Square and walking bade to West Hampstead at the end of the 
day. Sometimes on the return journey he would knock at doors and hand 
in a copy of Answers as an inaodoction to possible new readers. ‘Oh, I 
remembet the Edgwarc Road,’ he remarked years later to a member of Hs 
staff who mentioned having seen a Caplin film in that part of the town. 
‘I often walked down it to Fleet Street when 1 hadn’t the price of a bus fare 
from Hampstead. The Edgware Road has changed since those days,’ he 
reflected, adding; T suppose I helped to change it.’ He made frequent touts 
of the booksCalU and newsagents shops, inquiring about the paper’s sales 
and trying to iscover which part of its contents ‘pulled’ best. It gave him 
a knowledge of circulation which few editors had the opportunity to 
acquire. 

His rapidly-expanding ego imprinted itself on the paper in terms of his 
youthful enthusiasms; success, money-making, journalism and authorship, 
Dickens, and an exuberant curiosity about life in general. In all the early 
issues there is an article on Etickens, in some more than one article, 
though the novelist had died nearly twenty years before. Dickens was 
for some years the cluef object of Alfred Harmsworth’s never obsessive 
mpadty for hero-worship. Of anecdotal renuniscence about the novelist 
ffic founder oi Answers could not have enough and he was probably correct 
in supposing that his readers could not either. It was an enthusiasm which 
led him to make a fine collection of DickensLma. Part of it consisted of 
not less than three hundred photographs of Dickens and it might be a 

98 


‘a pound a week for life’ 

misjudgment to think that the intensity of his admiration was centred in 
the flamboyantly successful man of the world rather than in the reforming 
writer. 

While social conscience in a doctrinaire sense had no place in Alfred 
Harmsworth’s life, he was far from insensitive to the disparities of human 
fortune. Referring to the discontents of General Post Office workers in 
1891, he wrote: ‘The present profits of the Post Office are about three 
millions a year, and in the opiiuon of many people, at least two-thirds of 
this should be handed over to those who earn it.‘ 


A symbolic reader-figure only vaguely emerges from the early Answers 
volumes. It is a predominandy male figure. The era of the conquering 
woman’s angle’ has not yet arrived. This typical reader appears to be 
given to wearing the white collar of die clerk with the roUed-up sleeves 
of the artisan, a class composite reflecting social change and a cautious 
adjustment to circulation possibilities. He has an appetite for processed 
mental meals in the form of one^entence paragraphs of information 
‘about everything under the sun’. To his arbitrary fear of sudden death 
is joined a recurring dream of sudden wealth or of meeting royalty on 
equal terms. With a relish for details of die hangman’s private life mere 
goes an aspiration to the higher knowledge, hinted at in articles on the 
careers of artists and scientists and the successes of self-educated persons 
in realms other than commerce. 

His gambling instincts are provided for by competitions ranging from 
those involving spectacular guesses to others requiring him to count 
accurately the total of words or the number of times the letter ‘b’ occurs 
in a given issue. The 6ir comment to be made on those often puerile 
preoccupations is that before the new literacy the only ‘flutter’ open to 
the ordinary man was by means of street-comer betting. As a sharer in the 
infinite dullness of life in lower middle class England, the typical Answers 
reader found that while the paper satisfied some ofhis longings it generated 
others still more alluring. That Alfred Harmsworth would have stated it 
as a formula is unlikely, but with his precise intuition he later exploited it 
in other publications and added considerably to his wealth and prestige in 
doing so. The secret has since been rediscovered with highly profitable 
resuits by the editors of die mass-tirculanon women’s papers which 
dominate the latter-day periodical publishing scene. 

In the early Ansivers bsues the ingenuous enthusiasm of the former 
schoolboy editor shows itself in numerous articles on journalism and 
authorship. Unimpressed by the older race of editors, he did not pose as 
an Olympian. He took his readers into his confidence from the beginning. 


99 



NORTHCllFFE 


gave them frequent glimpses behind die editorial scenes, made them feci 
that he too was involved in the struggle for existence. He appealed to them 
for patience and understanding as well as, franldy, for pennies. A subtler 
insight is shown in articles wHcJi stressed the gamble of starting a new 
paper and warning would-be speculators of the risks. Two columns arc 
given to one such article, which purports to tell the experiences of an un- 
fortunate journalist who launched his own paper and lost everything. 
Professionally, the competent touch is demonstrated when the editor 
reprints criticism of his paper's contents and policy: 

‘Answers To Correspondents’ k but one more rod for our backs. All such 
papers arc useful only to the lazy ignorant. They encourage educational sloth 
and impart a patchwork quality to a man’s mental training. So many men s 
writing plagiarised, so much ruthlessly cut from context, so much scissor work! 
Who is the editor of this excerpt publication and where svill he and his brother 
conspirators uldmately go; Tnc intellect of the few, th'rir wit and humour, 
jop and sorrows, ail are shot into the machine, the handle turned, everything 
is bruised, crushed, and pulverised; dicn comes the mixing powder of adultera- 
tion, and this dreadful weekly ‘Anssvers To Correspondents’ if ready for iffue. 
May we have the snength to bear with it! 

The total impression received from an examination of the early issues 
oi Answers is of an ingenious exploitation of the popular mind, which had 
been taught to read but not to tUnk. The pcrioicals which owed their 
prosperity to that fret were a powerful and constant force in the growth 
of modem democracy. Not that any of them coiild boldly proclaim a 
pobrical frith, even those which mirroted the hopes of the widest class of 
reader. ‘We do not care to express an opiiuon on Socialism’, it was 
suted in ArifU’frj for June 29, 1889, a year in which die streets of London 
were thronged with processions of dockers on the march to better times. 
A reader ‘of Radical sympathies’ who wrote d^loring the many references 
in Anft^'crf to ‘the Conservative gang’ received the reply that ‘politics play 
no part whatever in the management of this paper*. 

* * * 

Popular education after 1870 created demands that had existed only in a 
iimited form before. One of them was cheap paper. Low-priced books 
and magazines, penny weekly papers, leading on to penny and halfpenny 
newspapers, became an incalcmble community influence as a result of 
technical development perhaps more profound m its effects than any other 
prewuced by the industrial revolution. The paradox remained that paper 
making was never of the first important among the manufactures of the 
nation. Up to within about twentyyeanofthe emergence of the Tit-Bits 


100 



‘a pound a week for iife’ 

kind of journalism, paper making had relied almost entirely on rags as its 
material of origin. Much of the supply came from the Continenr. The 
Crimean War, with its need of ban^ges, diminished it. A little later on 
foreign countries put a duty on rags for export and began making their 
own paper and sending it to England. For three or four years the English 
manufacturers were in difficulties. A letter was circulated to parochial 
clergy all over the country asking their help in organizing rag supplies. 
‘A Gttle industry, a little intelligence and an established system would 
perfectly secure us from failure in an important branch of art and trade.’ 

The troubles of the paper makers were brought before the nation in a 
more spectacular way by Gladstone’s insistence on abolishing the paper 
duties, regarding tliem as part of the ‘taxes on knowledge’ which it was 
his Government’s policy to remove. Opposirion from svithin the trade, 
as well as from fiscal experts, led to delay and, at one point, to Gladstone’s 
threatened resignation. Repeal came, by a narrow margin, in i86i. Glad- 
stone was reported to have said, with dramatic emphasis: ‘The paper duty 
Has gone. For the full resulu ofits removal, man must wait until we of the 
nineteenth century ate gone.’ In seven years the paper output of the 
country had considerably increased. Largely, the crisis was overcome by 
the introduction of esparto grass from Nortli Africa. Dy i8So, the year 
before TU-Bits appeared, the esparto import bad reached 200,000 tons. 
Because England bad the chemical means of treating it, ematto crass 
became the chief material in paper making and a factor of fat-rcaoiing 
social change. Greater demand set in motion the search for other new 
sources of supply. The uses of wood in paper making had been investi- 
gated as far back as 1800. They did not become important until late in 
the century, when mechanical produaion of wood pulp W’as superseded 
by chemical methods. ‘Wood pulp,’ wrote Alfred Harmsworth (by then 
Northcliffc) in the eleventh edition of Encydopcedia Britannica, ‘is at die 
roots of die expansion of the modem newspaper.' One of the many 
company prospectuses of 1889, when Antitvrs was one year old, sought 
capital for wood-pulp mills in Norsvay. Repeal of the paper duty had 
come just before the education advances of 1870 and they were largely 
implemented by it. 


'If we can manage to keep from quarrelling, we may toudi 100.000 tvidi 
the Christmas number and exceed that quanti^’ next summer regularly. 
Wc arc absolutely unknown in tlic greater portion of the countrj'.* Alfred 
Hafmswordi ssos UTitmg to Aleaander Beaumont, addressing him ‘My 
Dear Captain’, a st)-le condemned as ‘bad form' in Anm'ers' ctiqucnc 
column only a slion time before. Hie reference to quarrelling is not clear. 


101 



NORTHCUFEE 

There appear to have been office totsions. ‘Harold has gone 
Ardennes for ten days. He was breaking down, as you know. Harold Ma 
been working twelve hours a day. His own notes concerning that period 
state that he was ‘getting tired of the unpleasant state of affairs at the 
office’. His services were retained oiJy when he was given shares in the 
company by the insistence of Alfred. For that purpose, Carr surrender^ 
100 shares, Beaumont 30. The transaction was left to Markwick,^ as the 
legal expert, and according to Harold’s notes it was followed by a row 
between Markwick and Beaumont, as a result of which Markwick was 
‘ousted from Beaumont’s house’. 

Writing at a later date about that stage of the paper’s development, 
Al&ed said that there were 'the usual brents to get through before we 
reached the smooth sea of sticccss. Our troubles were not diminished by 
dissensions among the crew.’ Because he had founded the paper and 
beheved he knew exactly what its readers wanted, he was aggrieved at 
not being its chief proprietor. ‘I resolved that unless I obuined the absolute 
editorship I would start another publication and prepared one accordingly. 
Of this alternative enterprise there is no record in document or memory. 
He added to the disclosure: ‘Circumstances, however, favoured me, as I 
must say they usually do. In 1889 I received not only a much larger share 
in the proprietorship but the absolute control of the concern, whereupon 
I resolved to go ahead.’ Another of the brothers, Hildebrand, called 
‘Brandy’ in Alfred’s letters to Beaumont though never in the family, had 
joined the circulation suff. He was seventeen and had been educated at 
Dublin High School by the Maffett relatives. His brother said that already 
he was bringing results by his energetic canvassing of newsagents’ shops 
and whole streets of houses, door to door. 

Harold’s rigid watch on expenditure soon had an effect on the Answers 
Company affairs. He had begun to prove what he was abundantly to 
confirm in the future, that there arc phases of publishing experience in 
which managerial judgment is more important than the editorial function. 
It was a concession of opinion which AUced was never able to make un- 
grudgingly. At the board meeting held on the fint anniversary of the 
founding of the paper, Harold announced a steady sale of 48,000 copies 
a week and a gross profit for die twelve months of £1,097 3^- 
board meeting was held in a newly-tented upstairs boxroom used for 
storing Answers back numbers. The piles of copies served as seats. At this 
meetog, conducted by the secretary sitting at a small deal table, it was 
decided that new offices must be found, tor preference in Fleet Street. 
Someone mentioned vacant accommodaCton at 108 Fleet Street, down at 
the Ludgate Circus end, ‘over Spence’s men’s outfitting shop’. Not long 
afterwards Alfied wrote to Beaumont: ‘I saw the new office thoroughly 
for the first time yesterday. It could be made really charming. I think 


102 



‘a pound a week for life’ 

there is no doubt that we shall get it.* Youthful exuberance was shading 
into sober confidence, though diere were worries. IlilFe’s bill was still un- 
paid and The Private Schoolmaster was running at a loss. But for Answers 
Company Limited the future looked bright enough and it was with a 
hopeful heart that Alfred went off with his wife for their summer holiday 
on the Kent coast. 

* * -k 

On Saturday afternoon, July 12, 1889, Alfred Harmsworth, senior, and 
Geraldine, his wife, were at Hendon for a garden party given by the widow 
of an old friend of his named Day. The weather was overcast and there 
was a lowering temperature. Alfred, the elder, who liked to cut a figure 
on those occasions, wore his lightest clothes with thin-soled shoes, 'nicely- 
dressed and jolly and genial*, young Alfred said in a letter written nine 
days later from 4 Flint Cottages, Broadstairs, to his brother Cecil in 
Dublin. ‘He made the mother so proud to be with him. He had not been 
So genial for years.’ Returning from that happy outing, Harmsworth, 
senior, did not feel well. At seven o’clock, he said: ‘Now I’ll toddle’, and 
went up to bed. In a few minutes he was calling out for his wife. She 
hurried up to bis room. He was vomiting blood. Leicester was sent by 
Underground Railway to fetch the family doctor, Allen, from Fairfax 
Road, St. John's Wood. Told of the symptoms, the doctor took a serious 
view of rhe case. As soon as he saw the patient he said there was no hope. 
‘Our concern was that he should survive until Tuesday,’ Leicester after- 
wards wrote. ‘Monday was Alfred’s birthday and we all felt that it would 
be s pecially poignant for him if we lost our Father on that day.’ 

Young Alfred wrote to Cecil in Dublin: 

He lingered on peacefully and painlessly till 4.15 a-m. Tuesday, when he died, 
looking, as Leicester told me, perfectly happy. On Sunday he said, ‘Ithinklam 
dying,' but mother, who was much shattered by the shock, did not think he 
really knew his danger. He svas quite insensible for hours beforehe passed away. 
Auntie, Uncle, and our people were all by his bedside in the little room at the 
top of the stairs. 

I knew nothing till all was over and the shock was terrible. I am getting over 
It now, for the dear soul is away from all the petty worries of this world. We 
buried him yesterday in the family grave ana should have liked you to have 
been with us. 

It will be a bit of a struggle to keep the family in its place. But we will do it, 
and we must make our folk powerful and prosperous, where the father would 
have loved to have seen us. Our buwess grows apace. ‘Answers’ did 57,000 
last week. 

. . . Do not grow depressed at the tetiible occurrence. There are many 
things about it that should make the fodicc's death less of a trial than it should 


103 



NORTHCUFFE 


otherwise have been. We must all set to work to make the mother s life the 
happiest possible. Harold will be the fedier of the house and we must improve 
it and make it more habitable. The turn of our finasicial ride has come. 

Your loving brother, 

ALFRED. 

The cause of Alfted Harmsworth's death was medically given as 
cirrhosis of the liver. It was virtually a repetition of the death certificate 
of his father, who had died at fifty-three. Alfred was fifty-two. The 
telegram to Alfred, junior, at Broadstairs, announcing his father’s death, 
had been followed by a letter from Geraldine Harmsworth saying that 
there was ‘no money to bury him tvith’. He wrote to Henry Amholr, 
who had been at Henley House with him: 

Your little card of condolence, coming from so old a friend, gratified nie 
much. . . . 

I gather from your envelope that you arc already entered upon your profes- 
sional cat«t, of the success of which there can be no doubt. I hope that I may 
at some time or other be able to influence your work. 

My own concerns have pcospeted beyond my expectations. If you ever have 
an idle moment to waste look at a copy of ‘Answers,’ a weekly paper I edit 
and partly own. Will you please convey all my best remembrances to Mr & 
Mrs Amholz and your sisteri 

Yours sincerely, 

ALFRED HARMSWORTH. 

Henry Amholz was the small and nervous Jewish newcomer to the 
school whom Alfred hid championed against the bullying of older boys. 
From Broadstairs at the same time Alfred %vrote to his father’s old friend 
Wood of the Mercantile Marine OfEce: 

My dear Fred, — I address you thus to keep up my dear Father’s custom. My 
little wife and I shall expect you between now and September zist and re- 
member you come in and go oof wh«j you tdcase, and NO questions asked. 

Now we expect you and there will always^ a vacant room at 31 Pandora 
Road, West Hampstead, near unto the Grove of the Evangelist, for you. 

Come. 

Yours, hoping to be as his facbci was to you, and for as many years, 
ALFRED. 

Geraldine Harmswortli, senior, to Cecil Harmsworth: 

4, Flint Cottages, 

Broadstairs, Kent. 

I2th August, 1889 

My dear Cecil, — . . . I came down here Ust Thursday to stay with Alfred 


104 



‘a pound a week for urt’ 

and Mary for a little time. They have a nice little cottage and are making me 
as happy as it is possible for me to be at present. 

I am glad to tell you that Sonchie [St. John] is going to Mr Milne’s school 
and Boo [Vyvyan] to Miss Budd's. 

The Church here is just across the road, very high. I don’t like it as well ?s 
St. Augustine’s [Kilbum] but the service is so spirited and earnest I much prefer 
it to the dead and alive services to be found in some places. The clergy wear 
birettas, they have more candles than at St. Augustine's and ring a bcU sometimes 
during the nigh celebration. The music is very good and they have musical 
instruments as well as the o^an. It is just four weeks today since dear Papa 
svas dying and it seems to me like half a life-time. Everyone says it is all for 
the best, but I find it hard to agree. 

Your very loving 
MOTHER. 

The Sylvan Debating Club formally recorded its members' regret. ‘In 
a few well-chosen words, the president of the club, Sir Slicrston Baker, 
Bart., Recorder of Bamsaple, paid a tribute to the late founder. Mr 
Robert Manscl, the new vice-president, referred to Kis late predecessor’s 
abilities which, he said, had always charmed them and whose eloquence 
and courtesy had commanded their tespea. Mr Frederick Wood, of the 
Board of Trade, spoke most feelingly. . . .' There were affectionate re- 
membrances of him in courts and Cambers. He had been more popular 
than the family realized. 

Later that year Cecil, at Trinity College, Dublin, gained the fint of his 
university prizes. His mother sent him family congratulations. ‘We are all 
quite overcome by thejoyful news. How delighted your dear father would 
have been.’ She took the opportunity to add; ‘I hope his children will ever 
remember how clever he was and that to him ihcy sviJl owe any intellec- 
tual success they may attain to.’ He rcm^cd evergreen in her memory. 
One of the Maffctt nieces heard her say; T have a fine large family, but 
I would rather have my husband back.’ In her next letter to Cedi, who 
had been over to stay with her at Broadstairs, she counselled him to be 
‘all that is discreet’ and to keep a watchful eye on Hildebrand. ‘You must 
admonish him, as I am rather anxious about him, so much left to his own 
resources at his age, and I trust diat he will be preserved from all evil.’ 
She went on to tell Cecil: 

I hear ‘Answers’ is doing great things, but I haw not seen it lately. I am read- 
ing Sydney Smith’s life and letters, edited by his daughter, Lady Holland. 

I was very sorry not to have been able to go to Finddey with you and I hope 
the next time you sec the grave it will be what it should be. 

I am sorry you did not see our old landlady. She seems to think you ought to 
have paid her a visit. She was telling me this evening that she quite remembers 
the rejoicing at the Battle of Waterloo — and asked me what it was all about. 


105 



NORTHCUFFE 


I liave walked the young people nearly off their feet. To Margate and back 
before dinner on Saturday and no refreshment on the way— not even a glass of 
beer. I took them to see ANSWERS [a Ur^calc poster of the paper]. 

Yottc loving 
MOTHER. 

* * ★ 

Answers for October 12, 1889, contained the following announcement, 
under the head, An Important Move: 

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and of a journal the drculatioa. 
We have altogether outgrown 26 and 27 Paternoster Square, and three weeks 
hence take possession of handsome oAccs at 

108 FLEET STREET 

lately occupied by a well-known evening paper. We were fond of the quaint 
old premises where our journal was srarted, and we endeavoured by taking up 
extra rooms next door, to temiin; bur ‘Answers' went up, up, up in the world 
until we have been obliged to make adepatture. The change to the commodious 
first-floor overlooking Ludgite Circus u now positively necessary. 

We hope to make the new premises a model of what the home ofajounul 
should be; the Editorial Department prondses to be a decided novelty in 
journalistic offices. 

For the present our friends will kindly address us at our old quarters. 

We feel sure that all will join in wising the paper the same good luck in its 
new premises that it has hitnerco escpetience^ 

A week later the oncoming gloom of the London winter was relieved 
by the sight of strings of sanowichmen ambling along the kerbsides wth 
orange-coloured boards bearing the slogan: A found a week for ufe! 
The pavement throngs were u^ed to buy the current issue of Answers in 
whicn were to be found particulars of ‘The Most Gigantic Competition 
The World Has Ever Seen*. A note of higUy topical novelty was struck 
when a week or so later Answers repeated its announcement of the com- 
petition in huge shorthand diaracters, ‘kindly written for us by Mr Pit- 
man himself. 

A paragraph in the financial page of The Times had given young Alfred 
Harmsworth the idea of the competition. It stated the vduc of the gold 
and silver lying at the Bank of Er^land on the previous day. Answers' 
£i-a-week-foi-hfe prize was offered to the reader who most nearly 
guessed the exact amount of gold coinage in the banking department of 
the Bank of England at the close of business on Wednesday, December 4, 
1889. Readen’ guesses were to be sent in on postcards only. Each postcard 
was to bear the names and addresses of five witnesses, who must not be 
members of the entrant’s family or live in Ae same house. Readers were 
106 



‘a pound a week for Lira’ 

free to send as many guesses as they wished, subject to that rule. There is 
reason to believe that the origin of the prize, as distinct from the com- 
petition, had been in an encounter by Alfted and Harold Harmsworth 
with a tramp. They were walking on the Thames Embankment one 
evening when a d«titute man asked diem for money. They talked to him. 
He wanted to know what they did for a living. Prize competitions were 
mentioned. ‘There’s only one prize I tvant,* the man said — ‘a pound a 
week for life.’ It was a poor man’s dream of wealth. Alfred saw at once 
its universal appeal. 

The offer took the public fancy as no previous competition had. It was 
an astonishing success. As a sulgect of current commoit in innumerable 
lower middle class and working class homes, Answers rivalled die pre- 
vailing strikes and labour demonstrations, in the leadership of which the 
names of John Bums and Cunningham Graham were just then prominent. 
A Fleet Street trade paper of die rime said that the competition had in- 
augurated ‘a period of popular exdtement unquestionably without pre- 
cedent in journalistic history. Never before had the newspaper rworts of 
the Bank’s balances excited such profound interest.’ The task of sorting 
die entries was formidable. Two temporary clerks were overwhelmed; 
they had to be reinforced by eighteen more. Dot, the eldest of the Harms- 
worth girls, who had been canting pocket money by giving music 
lessons, hurried off down to Fleet Street to lend a helping hand. Leicester, 
nicknamed Puggy, likewise gave part-time assistance: he was paid los. a 
week. He was nineteen ana in me Claims Department of the Inland 
Revenue; soon afterwards he joined the Answers Company at 25s. a week. 
Cecil, having taken his degree ar Dublin, now also joined the firm. 
Hildebrand was still working, like Leicester, on the outside staff of the 
Answers Company, pushing up circulation in the provinces. Hearing of 
Cecil’s examination result he wrote: 


90, Cobxirg Street, 
Plymouth. 

[Postmarked September 29, 1889] 
Dearest Cecil, — BravoU! My heart throbbed with delight and I scarcely 
slept a wink last night. Bravo! Bravo!! Bnivo!!! 

I can see that we shall be if not die first in the realm, certainly among the 
foremost families of rhe day. I, as yon know, am going (no boastine, realty) in 
for M.P.s and pohtics whenever my screw gets large enough and I propose 
that you and Leicester should rule the detgy and you be the Archbishop of 
Canterbury and Leicester Bishop of Lcmd^, Alf at the top of the literary 
world, I to hold the reins of politics in die Conservative Government, Harold 
to be Chief See. of Ireland and the rest to hold minor posts. 

I can't keep from chorusing Btavo! to you. my much-loved brother, and 
you can know my feelings when I get up at 7.30 to write this and am waiting 

. 



NORTHCLIFFE 

to post ir. It is indeed marvellous in our ^es and since you put tlie atinounce- 
ment of your success in such an unpretentious manner you are doubly loved by 

The family is in splendid condition and how darling father would have re- 
joiced to see the leap we have made. We shall be the biggest firm in London 
yet. I work like a nigger, hard at work whidi you know I am not accustomed 
to, but work I will and shall like anything till the toppermost rung of theladdcr 
of success is at my and my brothers’ feet. 

My dear Cecil, your kind advice is and has been followed to a T. I spend my 
evenings writing, drawing and 3 a week replenishing my mind at the Public 
Library with the sayings and doings of our Btttish Statesmen from immortal 
Chatham’s time, a glorious star of our nation, to Lord John Russell, Carming 
and his rival, Robert Peel, Palmerston, John Bright and Beaconsfield and 
Gladstone . . . they occupy my mind all day long. Non sihi, std patriae will 
be my motto when I rise Hildebrand Harmswortb, Esq., M.P.* ... I hope 
you don't think Tm too self-laudatory, but you know my spirit is so keen on 
fcettering itself that 1 can’t help it. It’s better to be ambitious than to be a slug- 
ard. The early bird catches the worm, but the slug is left to the sluggard, an 
impromptu joke, tlut. ‘Answen’ is booming here and it will be a wonder if in 
eignteen months we don’t outdo ‘Tit-Bits’. 

I am quite a toff now, no seedy bags or small caps and dark brown- 
supposed to be white— collars. 1 save about tsl- * vveek. ‘Answers' « 80.000 
this week, marvellous. I leave for Cornwall on Saturday, Bodmin, then Truro, 
Penzance, Falmouth, and finish up my tour with Exeter and Salisbury. I don’t 
smoke and am teetotal to a T. There ate heaps of temptations but I hold myself 
aloof with a lofty contempt. 

This is long enough and with bravos my dearest bro, 

Yours, 

H. 

Answers office bustled with undisdplined energy, fervent inexperience. 
The editor sat in a large room described in an article as ‘an extremely 
luxurious chamber. From his window, leaning out, he could look up 
Ludgatc Hill, Opposite, over the roof tops, soared the spire of St, Bride’s. 
Below it vvas St. Bride’s Avenue (demoluKcd 1900) gracefully rounded at 
its Fleet Street comers by early Victorian shop windows. There, for forty 
years, Punch had its office. *1116 view from our office is intensely kaleido- 
scopic,’ Awjti'trj’ editor told his readers. Twice a day, the pavements were 
shimmering streams of silk hats. This was the Street of Adventure which 
young Alfred Harmsworth would make still more adventurous. We see it 
through the contemporary eye of the young and tragic author of Mightier 
than the Sii’crd, Alphonse Couilander: 

Heavens! What a world of paper and ink this was, to be sure. The doors. 



‘a pound a week for life’ 

the windows and the letter-boxes bore the rides of newspapers — all the news- 
papers that were. Every room on every fioor was inhabited by the representa- 
rives of some paper or other: on the musty top windows the titles of journals 
in Canada and Australia; great golden letters bulged across the buildings 
telling of familiar newspapers . . . and over and above the irregular roofs the 
wires spread tWn threads against the sky, wires that gave and received news 
from the uttermost ends of the earth. Every branch of human activity, all the 
intricate complexities of modem life seemed to be represented either by a room 
or the fifth part of a room m Fleet Street. 

Max Pemberton, twenty-seven, was ‘contributing bright replies to our 
pages', at a guinea a column, chiefly on theatrical subjects. Harold did not 
share Al&cd’s faith in Pemberton’s joumaUsricabiliries; ‘He is a silly fellow 
and always seems to miss opportunities.’ A young Lord Mountmorres was 
constantly in and out of Ae ofGcc. Having succeeded the Irish peer of 
that name who was mistakenly assassinated by gunmen at Clonbur in 
i88i, he was in need of income when he came down from Oxford and 
gained ‘Mr Alfred’s’ approval by going out into the streets disguised as 
one of ^njtt'crs’ vendors and getting nimself arrested on suspicion of 
having burgled his own chambers. Later, he contributed many articles to 
the paper and succeeded Max Pemberton in the role of ‘Mr Answers’. 
A young member of the circulation staff, Willie Scott, who had been at 
night classes with Leicester Harmsworth and who later was linked by 
marriage with the Hatmswotthfamily, arranged with a theatrical designer, 
Fox, of Covent Garden, to design a dress coat of orange satin with broad 
black lapels and cuffs, and a vest and breeches of orange silk. In this 
eccentric attire he went to fancy dress carnivals, receiving ‘a perfect 
ovation' (vide Answers) at a great baU held at Olympia in 1891. He gained 
new publicity for the paper when he rode along the Strand at night with 
the first electric lamp ever fitted to a bicycle. 

Harold Harmsworth leapt up the office st^rs two at a time. He was 
much given to pacing his room, hands deep in his trousers pockets, as if 
pondering great matters. If he sat down it was only for a brief moment. 
Then he would leap to his feet and begin pacing again. Even ‘The Admiral’ 
felt rejuvenated and, when at home at South Norwood, often travelled up 
to the office to experience at first-hand the excitements of being the backer 
of an enterprise on the brink of success. The office visits of Mrs Beaumont 
were remembered for another reason. She made a habit of buying meat 
pies from Lockhart’s eating house two doors up the street and distributing 
them regally to the staff. No one in the office fancied food from that 
lowly establishment. The ‘C.-in-C.’s‘ bounty was invariably tipped into 
the waste-paper basket. 

A total of 718,218 postcards had been received in the ‘greatest ever’ 
prize competition, which was won by a member of the staff of the 



NORTHCLBTE 


Ordnance Survey at Southampton, Sapper C. D. Amtin. The purchasing 
power of the pound at that time was sudi as to enable him to mariv at 
once. His guess of the amount of gold coin at the Bank of England on 
the appointed day had been -within ^ of the correct figure. No one else 
came -within £ioo of it. One of the last incoming posts brought 295,000 
postcards, a phenomenon whidi die Postmaster-General mentioned in his 
official report for the year. Queer detracting rumours were put about: die 
-winner would, of course, be someone very old; he was bound to be the 
editor masquerading under another name; and so on. On the morning 
when the figure was posted up outside the Bank, according to custom, 
a large crowd gathered in Thtcadnccdlc Street. The police were called to 
control it. The London evening papers had ‘special runners’ to carry the 
result to Fleet Street The Naval and Military Argus reported that ‘the 
excitement in Southampton was tremendous’. Sapper Austin was in-viced 
to visit London at the expense of Anstvers. ‘After he had been interviewed 
at our office,’ it was editorially announced, 'he was invited by Captain 
Alexander S. Beaumont (late of the Royal Welch Fusiliers), Chairman of 
the Answers Company, to visit him at South Nonvood, where the young 
soldier stayed the night'. When he died eight years later of tuberculosis, 
Alfred Harmsworth had a final dieque sent to his widow, who 

was left in poor circumstances. 

The result was given in the aS-page Christinas Number of Answers, 
1889. Of that issue 205,000 copies were sold. Only eighteen months old, 
Answers was amply justifying its title of ‘The Golden One’. ‘Capitalized, 
£1 a week for life tepiesents about Harmswordi wrote later 

m Answers. ‘For ;^r,ioo f managed to excite the interest of nearly five 
millions of people in this journal, for it should be remembered that 
every penoii who entered that competition had not only to sign his o-wn 
name on a postcard, but to get five other people to add theirs also.’ Fleet 
Scrcct prophets of doom sat back and waited, telling each other that the 
true test of the Harmsworth finances and ability would come when bigger 
and better prize competitions were needed to maintain the paper’s pro- 
gress. The public appetite had been stimulated. Now it would never be 
satisfied. Newnes, of Tit-Bits, took another line. He gave it as his opinion 
that guessing competitions were demotalixing, ‘a fit at us, obviously’, 
Beaumont wrote to Alfred. Alfred’s confidence was unshaken. His policy 
was to consolidate the future o£ Answers by a firmer editorial touch, by 
making the paper acceptable on its merits as reading matter, by a stronger 
assertion of his joumabstic gjfts. 

An editorial paragraph in the issue dated January 4, 1890, reaffirmed the 
constituuon of the Answers Company in response to a letter ‘from one of 
'yhu resides at 40 Norfolk Street, Glossop’, a town whose 

good people , the editor surmised, were ‘particularly suspicious’. 


xio 



‘a pound a week for life 

The Editor of this paper is not at all afcaid to publish Hs name, but he cer- 
tainly would object to thrust Hs personality before the pubhc week after weel^ 
But if it interests anyone to know it, die Editor begs to state that his Mme is 
Alfred C. Harmsworti Anstvers is the property of a limited companv. o™«i 
Mr Harm, worth hold, one-half the d»re,. The ‘>'>'“, 1 ’™“?"' “ „ iaT 
are Mr Edward Markwick, Barrister-at-Law and a 
who is aUo Vice-Chairman. Captain A. Beaumont. 0/ 

Fusiliers, who is Chairman of the Company, and Mr Harold Harmsworth. who 

Mr W. D^Carr, who has been connected wth the head office smee the start, 
now goes to Dublin, to open up an Irish office for the journal, further particu- 
lars of which will shortly be published. 

As a holder of a sixth share, DargaviUe Qrt wa, “ 

leave the rmming of the company to the hiolhm. Harold “ “ 

memorandum to Alfred that as an office worker Carr M no ■ “Ch 
Harmsworth said of him that 'he was cntmjy innocent of the practrral 
affairs of Ufe'. His pay in London had ^n £5 a wt*. Now he 
the sole agency for Amwm in IteUnd at the same 
plus commissiL Later, as the representative m Irelmd for aU Ha™^ 
worth pubUcations, he received a good mtmmc, with 0 ®“' ““ 

James’, ‘^Street, Dublin. 'My brother wasjoUy glad to 8 “ ^ 

socUl life of Dublin,' Canon F. R. Cart, of Penzance, “ 

Harold Harmsworth in 19SO. ‘He had no gift 
was the nicest fellow you ever met. AU of m were J«oted to 

pUcations in Datgaville Carr’s personalaffaits were the subject of anumber 

of austere memonuda from Harold Ha'mjwoj* <0 Ins 

after the new arrangement had been made, I wiU V , , F ^ j realize 

I cm assure you I am sick of debts,’ Qirc wrote to 

perfectly whit a fearful thing it would be for me ,,, 

wife if I lost the agency.’ Writing to yUnd a ou 

Harold said; 'His Lfcitunes arc aU of his ow matag- iS 

many opportunities that I do not feel mchned to p ty 

to do something. He owes mmwc to coincided with the 

Carr s departure from the onicc r ron^oicuouslv 

arnval there of another young ^1,^ 

in the Harmsworth adventure. Alfty now ™ 

services of a full-time secretary. Hatold hy written o him In 

a correspondence clerk, you should certainly do , 8 ..Jvwtisc- 

sclf of ffie mass of putpmeless commomoinom. In 'f?'/ 

ment which had offered ’a splendid opcMg orKmtSliimsclf 

a clerk from the counMg house the applicant, who 

at 108 Fleet Street. Sho,™ mto Mr WMs roorn.^me^pp^^^l^ 

Was tall and spare in build and troubled by a g 



nobthcuffe 

a letter in shorthand at the editor’s rapid staccato dicution. The young 
man passed the test and was engaged at 351, a week. His name was George 
Augustus Sutton, the son of a coachman. He was bom at la Devonshire 
Mews East, Marylebone, on September 21, 1869, and he may have been 
named after George Augustus Sala, then one of the foremost Londonen. 
His manner was discreet, deferential, quiet, and reliable. He might 
have been designed by nature to be ‘Mr Alfred’s’ confidential clerk. A 
nervous habit of fingering his necktie, pulling it lefrward and then 
straightening it again, reflected the indecision of which he was a lifelong 
victim. Socially, he did not qualify as a ‘good mixer’. The set of his eye- 
brows was deemed by his colleagues at 108 Fleet Street to be Me^histo- 
pbelian. Soon ‘Sutton was corrupted into die office nickname of Satan’. 


‘Mr Alfred’ had been working early and late. He wrote in Ansurrs that 
editing a weekly paper nvant a sixteen-hour day. Those around him 
could not say that he was exaggerating. An attack of influesiza, in what is 
recorded as London's first epidemic of that infection, brought him a 
warmly-worded invitation from the Beaumonts to stay wim them at 
VLareggio. It was his first Continental holiday since the tour wth Powys, 
the clergyman, eight yean before. He benefited from the change of scene 
and routine but was quite unable to rest. Every post had to be caught with 
eihtorial instructions and suggestions and manuscripts of articles written 
by himself. He wrote some lines which were posted up in the office for all 
to read; 


Clear the sun, and bright the skies, 

Say, oh newsboy, what’s the rbef 
Sweet the scent of bud and flower, 

Are we piling every houtt 
Green the grass, and blue the sea, 

How’s thedre. and L.S.D.r 
Rare the palms, the chamber’s gay. 

What’s the boomt Now, vatlet, sayl 

The circulation was going up but not at a rate to satisfy his ambition, 
which had fixed on a quarter of a nuUion as tlie summit of its immediate 
satisfaction. In bis ‘Editorial Chat' for the issue of May 3, 1890, he wrote: 

I don’t like betting, and I don’t and won’t bet, but there is a genuine British 
fashion of backing one’s opinion, and if the drcularion of Answers has not 
touched 250,000 copies by or before August 13th next, I will send a ^$0 note 
to rbe sender of the first telegram I receive eight o’clock in the morning 


XI2 



rcminiiing me of this offer, I ffo not mind siying candidly that unless some- 
thing unforeseen happens I shall not be obliged to relinquish my hold of that 

iCsn- 

Eager to teach the quartet of a million for Anmtrs, and no doubt 
mote keen to announce it to the pubEc and his nyals, he expemmted 
with a variety of novel ideas. The diini'ers pipe, made ty Messrs 
a City tobacco firm whose business later supplied some of the hachgtoimd 
scenes for a best-selling novel of the Fitst World Peterjutfa », Ci£ 

Merthanl, by Gilbert Ftankau, brought pubbcity for Ac mper. A™det 
Beaumom composed •Hie idminers Walut’. It was ppthshed for 4e pap r 
by Klein, who had brought out The Ellen Terry Waite , Alfred Harm, 
worth’s own composition. There were Ammcrs cigarettes, an Acsmrs 
prize dog, an Answers fountain-pen, an Answers too a e c ’ 

Lffee, Answers saver medals for heroes of the year. “f 

is efftcacious,’ Harold wrote to Alfred. ‘Several of our clerks hye taken tt 
with good results.’ The paper’s free insurance offer was ’ 

then tl £i,ooo. ’Mr Answers’, the paper’s speaa^ 1 T“b7a 

out on a senes of ’extraordinary advmtures . He ' 

stage mesmerist. He spent a night in a haunted home. He w^s >Mo*'d 
in the streets by^ detectives from Scotland Yard. He ea 

‘''Trei^clt^mspo^ded to those different 

specucular rise and Alfred Hatmswot* peremptonly a^omad a 

greater-than-ever prize offeti £z a week lir '-f' ®““,he 
England guessing competition, on the same lines • 

Treasury loEcitor stepped m, v nto 

Act. Counsel’s opimon confirmed the officia wey Street 

guesswork were illegal. The “■"P'*”” p^Swo^ 
It was thought and said and no doubt hope The general 

ivith his ’pLiy phenomenon- had „rK 

manager of the House of CasseU, Mr (later ^r) y * ^ 
in Ma^x Pemberton’s hearing that ’Messrs 

bankruptcy court before another year has passed f 

acnon nv?years later, Alfred Harmsworth wrote; 

pubhe, and especially those jealous "F I „,ountcd 



competition been permitted if it was not leg 


113 


NORTiicunr 

a letter in shortlund at tlic editor’* rapid staccato dicution. Hie younp 
man ihc test and was cntjat-cd at %$$, a week. 1 Its name was George 

Augiisms Sutton, tlie son of a coachman. He was bom at la 
Mc%\-s East. Mar^lcbone. on September 21. iff’O. and be nuy have been 
named after George Augustus SaU. then one of ilic fomnosi Londoricn. 
Mis manner was disaect, deferential, quiet, and rcltable. He mign 
have been designed by nature to be ‘Mr Alfr^V coiiftdcniul * 
nervous habit of fingering his necktie, pullitig it lemvard and then 
straightening it again, reflected the indecision ofwlucli he ss'as a meJong 
snetim. Socially, lie did not quahfy as a ’pood mixer*. Tlie ^ of his q-c- 
brows was deemed by his colleagues at lO^ fleet Street to be M(^hist<> 
phclian. Soon 'Sutton was comiptetl into the office nickname of Satan . 


'Mr Alfred' had been working early and late. 1 !c wrote in 
editing a weekly paper meant a sixteen-hour slay. Tliotc around him 
could not say dut rie was exaggerating. An attack of influenra. in svlut is 
recorded as London's first epidemic of that infection, brought him a 
warmly-worded invitation from the Beaumonts to stay wiui them at 
Viareggio, It was his fint Contincnul holiday since the tour witli Possyn, 
the clergyman, eight yean befote. He benefited from the cliange of seme 
and routuie but svas quite unable to test. F.vef)' post lud to be caught win 
cditorul instructions and suggestions and manuscripts of article* wmtten 
by himself. He svrote some lines whidi were posted tip in the office for all 
to read: 


Clear die sun. and blight (he skies. 

Say. oh newsboy, sshat'i the riser 
Sweet the scent of bud and floss cr. 

Are we piling every hourr 
Green the grass, and blue die sea, 

How's the ore. and L.S.D.t 
Rare the palms, the chamber’s gay, 

Wliar's the boomr Now, varlct, say! 

Tlie circulation was going up but not at a rate to satisfy his ambition, 
which had fixed on a quarter of a million as the summit of its immediate 
satisfaction. In his ’Editorial Chat’ fot the issue of May 3, tSpo, he wrote: 

I don’t like betting, and I don’t and won’t bet. but there is a genuine British 
fashion of backing one's opinion, and if the circulation of Ansyirrs has not 
touched 2jo,ooo copies by or before August I3t!i next, I will send a ^io note 
to the sender of the first telegram I receive after right o'clock m the morning 


1x2 



‘a roUND A WEEK FOR LIFE* 

reminding me of this offer. I do not mind saying candidly that unless some- 
thing unroreseen happens I sliall not be oblige to relinquish my hold of that 

Xso. 


Eager to reach the quarter of a million for Answers, and no doubt still 
more keen to announce it to the public and Iiis rivals, he experimented 
with a variety of novel ideas. The Annwrf pipe, made by Messrs Frankau, 
a City tobacco firm whose business later supplied some of the background 
scenes for a best-selling novel of the First World War, Peter Jackson, Cigar 
Merchant, by Gilbert Frankau, brought publicity for the paper. Alexander 
Beaumont composed ‘The Answers Waltz*. It was published for the paper 
by Klein, who had brought out ‘The Ellen Terry Waltz’, Alfred Harms- 
worth’s own composition. There were Answers cigarettes, an Answers 
prize dog, an Answers fountain-pen, an Ansioers toothache cure. Answers 
coffee, Answers silver medals for heroes of the year. ‘The toothache cure 
is efficacious,’ Harold wrote to Alfred. ‘Several of our clerks have taken it 
with good results.’ The paper’s free insurance offer was raised to ;^500, 
then to XiiOOO* *Mr Answers’, the paper’s special correspondent, was sent 
out On a series of 'extraordinary adventures'. He was put to sleep by a 
stage mesmerist. He spent a night in a haunted house. He was ‘shadowed’ 
in the streets by detectives from Scotland Yard. He learnt to ride one of 
the new ‘safety’ bicycles. 

The circulation responded to those different incentives but with no 
spectacular rise and Alfred Harmsworth peremptorily announced a 
greater-than-cver prize offer: £,2 a week for hfc in another Bank of 
England guessing competition, on the same lines as before. At once the 
Treasury Solicitor stepped in, threatening proceedings under the Lotteries 
Act. Counsel’s opinion confirmed the omcial view that money prizes for 
guesswork were illegal. The competition was withdraivn. In Fleet Street 
•t was thought and said and no doubt hoped that young Harmsworth 
with his ‘penny phenomenon’ had overreached himself. The general 
manager of the House of Cassell, Mr (later Sir) Wemyss Reid, predicted 
in Max Pemberton’s hearing that ‘Messrs Harmsworth will be in the 
bankruptcy court before another year has passed’. Recalling the Treasury 
action two years later, Alfred Harmsworth wrote: 'Among many of the 
public, and cspcaally those jealous of my success, the universal opinion 
was expressed tliat Attswers was done for.’ In fact, the circulation motmted 
to a figure which it had not reached before, zjo.ooo copies, though it fell 
shortly afterwards. Alfred Harmssvorth sent a cheque for two hundred 
and fifty guineas to the Balaclava Heroes’ Fund as a sign of his financial 
integrity. It rounded off an episode whidi had gained Ansii'ers considerable 
advertisement and some public sympathy: why had the previous guessing 
competition been permuted if it was not legal} 



NORTHCUfFE 

In the editorial notes for August 23, 1890, an amusingly cryptic para- 
graph informed readers tloat ‘an offer of ^ jo*, made in die issue of May 3 , 
Ld produced ‘a large number of telegrams’. New rcaden might, not 
quite foolishly, have inferred from it that AttstveTSV^i engaged in a philan- 
thropic enterprise about which it was becomingly modest. It %vas a con- 
fession of disappointed hopes. Reading it. George Nctvnes may have 
smiled behind Ws beard. His vni selling over half a million copies 

a week. The average weekly circulation of Answers was 180,000. Its net 
profits were rising. They were now nearly ;^liO a weck.‘Wchavc some 
startling schemes in vie^v‘, Alfred announced in print when the fuss about 
the banned competition had died down. This was the point at wWch one 
of the partners, £dsvard Markwitd:, the barrister, took what proved for 
him and his family a ruinous decision. His sober legal outlook on affairs 
had never fmally adjusted itself to the Harmsworth pace, that of men 
much younger than he. His measured thought made little impression on 
Alfred s hea^ong faith in the future of the business. The talk of ‘startling 
schemes’ apparently frightened 'the Old Man*, the name by which 
Markwick was often re^rred to in Alfred’s letters to Beaumont. To his 
later and sadly reaffirmed regret, he parted with his 140 shares in Answers 
Company Limited. Fc\v signatures on a share transfer document have been 
personaUy more fateful than that ofEdward Matkivick when in 1892 he 
made over his shares in the Answen Company to the Harmsworths and 
Beaumont. 

It was in that year that the second part of 'Schemo Magnifico’ became 
a practical possibility. The Pandora Publishing Company, named after 
the road in West Hampstead where Alfred and Mary Harmsworth had 
begun their housekeeping together, was founded with a capital of ^500. 
Alfred and Harold were the shareholders. The brothers believed that there 
was a chance for a new type of humorous paper to be sold at a halfpenny, 
then an untried price in me periodical tnaiRct. They saw it mainly as a 
publiaty medium for Answers, though they had hopes of invading the 
realm of publisliing too long dominated by the 'penny dreadful’. With 
tlicir recent memories of the sort of trash put on sale to young readers, 
those two in their carlj' twenties had a large contempt for the sordid stuff 
which degraded die juvenile’ journalism of the period. Alfred parti- 
cularly deplored the fact that some ‘penny drcaafuls’ gave away toy 

f tistols and daggers as an enticement to new readers. ‘To any such pub- 
isher wanting to “lift” his circulation,’ he wrote in Attstivrs, T recommend 
a barrel of dynamite.’ Comic Cuts — ^*100 Laughs for a ^d.’ — would be 
derided in tone and price as appealit^ to the tastes of errand-boys, as con- 
tributing nothing to the moral elevation of its readers. Made up in the 
style of the early issues of Tit-BUs, and owing even more to the successful 
existence of a crudely humorous weekly called Ally Sloper, it consisted of 



‘a pound a week for life 

eight pages of snippets arranged in columns that ran of 

the page under headings hke ‘Smiles’ and Jokes and Tiny Chips . 
‘Smiles^ announced that a boy had swallowed a revolver ^ 

mother doesn’t dare to wallop him in case he goes off. Joes a 

a sample: Artist’s Friend: ‘I like your picture of your uncle. But is his yce 
quite so red?’ Artist: ‘My uncle? That’s a sunset! Tiny Clups stated as 
one-line facts that ‘salmon can jump ten feet and England as ^8 S 
in 127 naval battles’. There was a ruthless pdlagmg of Amencan papers 

Without Being Vulgar’, was chosen. As soon as the decision g 

out had been made, Alfred developed a f^rical eagerness to see 
sale. He took a man named Houghton Tow^ey from 
ordered him to have the new paper ready in four days. ^ -l ; i 

Townley was curious. He was so unnerved by the sudden re p 
that he was kept up all one night vomiting \vith anxietv. um • 

May 17. iSg^sofd Ii8.8<54 copies. Wgely as a of ad^ce 

■booming’ given to it in Answers. It was a basic concern of ^ 

nifico’ that there was to be a constant interplay of publicity it 

publications comprising it. This was to lead to oifRc le . . J ^ 

had handsomely prove! itself in the £me cucuktion secured for 

from the first issue. In a few weeb a steady sale of 

reached; later it was to go much higher. House of Com- 

to learn that on the previous afternoon a meid ° piayfair, had 

mom, none other than Ac former Deputy Speaker, S ^ JofConiic 

been seen lolling in his accustomed place, furtively ^ rccom- 

C«tr concealed in ‘Orders of Ac Day’. The paper lud jt 

mend it as a literary production, even m Ae 

helped to kUl Ac ‘pcimy Aeadful. Ac inikh cow 

money than Ansu-ers, the parent paper. pmic Ci 

of the busmess, and not Answers , Harold wro c, . founders 

C«£i was to hold its place for sixty years. » 

presumed for it. It became part of English toUdorc. i6-paee 

Ten weeb later, Ac HarmsworAs announced a 
production, price a halfpenny, whiA A«ty claiine , ^ to Chips. 

of it, kind ta *e worliw/(,,«r.W qu.c% *““'4 f , 
The fonnula wa, the tame a, for Cfopt had 

Jrawingt, mot, of them crudely '^^Soodk^^ The 

a central character, 'Mr Chip, . mvented by “ ™ ^ ^de of 

issue appeared on July 26. 18^, and muA p ty 
die fact Aat two papers could be for a penny • j ]_.d to 
Can, foe bet, foa? could be ttud for the newcomer 
strict foe scope for foe still lest detitahlc types of pobltcanon. 



NORTUCUITE 


Harmswortli papers were publWhcd for immature miudj. but in lliosc 
early days, as always afterwards, Alfred and Harold Harmswoah were 
unyielding in their polic)* of not pandering to the lowest ustes of all. 
Alfred wrote in Answers: ‘It is always a gratifying diought to us that it is 
universally admitrctl tliat no liann can come fron) die reading of any of 
our publications, and that by encouraging die taste for pure literature we 
ate tendering a sct\'ice to die times in which we live.’ The humorous 
writer, A. A. Milne, wTOtc that ‘llirmiwordi killed die penny dreadful 
by die simple process of producing a ha’penny dreadfuller. Tlic gibe was 
barbed by what seems to have been its writer’s long cherished animosity 
towards his schoolmaster father's old pupiL 

If there \vas little in die Harmswortli juveniles’ that was posidvely 
high-minded, there was noditng diat was obscene. Alfred particularly 
scorned die productions of a Fleet Lane firm which published 5 m/ 7 « and 
The World's Comic: ‘disgusting drivel’ was his term for them. There were 
those who considered hb boys* papers silly lo the point of idiocy, that 
Chips’ ‘Weary Willie and Tired Tim’ tramp charactets made fatuous 
reatog for young minds. Writing about die growth of die business in 
Ansuvrs Christmas Number for 1891, Alfred said: The firm lus never 
published a solitary line of reading matter unsuitable to the most refined 
home circle.’ Tliat statement expressed his persona! preferences. What the 
critics did not grasp was tliat then, as now. there were immature minds 
for whicli the printed word had no clurm. Thc>’ were die original ’comic 
strip’ audience, now world-wide. The ’comic strip’ idea was first devel- 
oped in those Harmswofdi papers and it was a famous black-aud-whilc 
artist, Tom Broivnc, who drew some of the most popular at that time. 
He claimed that lits inspiration for diem came from ‘Don Quixote*. 

Cliips took the public fancy, as Comir Cuts did. and the sceptical minds 
whicli had tliougiit it unrealistic publbhing economic to bring out a new 
paper that was virtually a copy of the one immediately prccefling it from 
the same source, had to admit die soundness of die Harmswordi strategy. 
By producing tsvo papen more or less alike, the brotiicn successfully 
anticipated and warded off the compeution of rivals from outside. Alfred 
afterwards put it on record: ‘I foresaw that our policy was to rain paper 
after paper upon the public and thus raise our pretige and block com- 
petition.’ 

In a private report on juvenile papers in general, the result of a study 
commissioned by the Congrcgationalbc theologian, Dr J. B. Paton, 
founder of more than one moral crusade for the young, it was slated: ‘The 

dreadfuls” have been hit very hard by such papen as the Harmsworths’ 
and are not read to such an extent as they were. Not that tlie Harmswortli 
and similar papers are much better, but dicy look respectable. Scarcely 
anyone objects to them and even the best ncNvsagcnts stock them. Thus 



‘a pound a week for life 

they have supplanted the old “dreadfuls” and secured a circulation never 
dreamed of. Aldiough they are less crude and horrible, they arc if any- 
thing more vulgar.’ That opinion was evidently shared by the proprietors 
of P«ric/j, who reacted with all too little humour when Comic Cuts was 
spoken of by Alfred Harmsworth as ‘the poor man s Punch . They sent 
Im a solicitor’s letter. 

A Harmsworth innovation which brought die newsagents many com- 
plaints over their counters was the practice of starting a sena story ^ 
paper and continuing it in another. *A very aggravating habit , and tli^ 
begged the Harmsworths to stop it. A number of nesvsagcnts. 
damage to the penny periodical trade, refused to deal in the two new 
penny papers. Rea/ers of both, as abo o( Aitstms, were 
about the boycott and were asked to help in its defeat. Soon 
worths were able to announce a combined drculaoon of just on 5 , 
copies a week. The newsagents had to bow to the 
Now. Alfred Harmsworth tvas going doxvn to fleet Street oidy on 
Answers press day or for other special oc<^tons. Sutton. 
joined him at Pandora Road immediately after fn 

In the afternoon, they would 'valk on Hampstead Heath. Somc^cs. on 

those walks Alfred would talk to his fbx terner, Bob, y 

word to Sutton. They would be back for tea and then resume work, often 
till midnight. , 

Alfred Harmsworth to Leicester Harmsworth; 

answers 

niEE £1.000 ISSUBASCE 

Editorial Department. 

108, Hect Street, E.C. 

6th August, 1890. 

My dnt Lric«cr,_I .m glad to hpt lih 

ona. because there is not as much compeonon. Uc sold 605.000 p pc 
"ctlc altogether Not so bad U i« , , ^ in botli 'C. 

lUrold and I have agreed to let Hildcbran annum out 

Cots' and 'Chips’. pro>Hdcd he agrees .^t '^it iio^hno make >-ou 
"f the shares, it. that is to say. they produce sufficient. Tlus ougnt 
wotk extra hard so as to keep the «lc 

Leicester Harmsworth. Esq . 

^ Nottingham Road. 

Drtbi 


117 



Durine that late summer of 1890, Alfred Ha^ns^vorth received Ac first 
unmistakable assurances of coming p^p^ty. At Wentv-five, he was 
hardly intent on acquiring power and influence. His ambition was not 
formuUted in the arbitrary Victorian terms of personal progrws. To an 
undoubted single-minded passion for journalism, there was jomed a no 
less positive identification of himself widi professional exemplars, success- 
ful ioumalists, successful editors, successful publishers. I thought ot noth- 
ing else.’ he told his friend Pemberton. The identifying processes ot youth 
are more usually activated by a wish to emulate than by the will to cx«l 
and the Harmsworth dream of success was no exception. For example, 
realizing that success was neat, Alfred’s fint thought was to escape from 
the routine of existence in the small house in Pandora Road, West Hamj^ 
stead. He reacted violently against the possibility of becoming 
into the endlessly repeated partem of suburban life. He had cherished the 
idea of Uving at Broadstairs ever since he had been taken there to 
from one of his infant illnesses. Dickens’s associations strengthened his 
attachment to the place. Betsy Trotwood’s cottage was said to he one ot 
the little houses clustered above the small enclosed harbour. Nearby is the 
Royal Albion Hotel where part of Ntrftoftff NickUby was written. Dickens 
had been lyrical about Broadstain in a letter to Forster, his future bio- 
grapher: 'It is more delightful here than I can express. ... O, itis wondet- 
mlf And to a friend at Cambridge, Massachusetts, he had written in 1843: 
‘This IS a httlc fishing place; intensely quiet; built on a cliff whereon— m 
the centre of a tiny semi-circular bay— our house stands: the sea rollup 
and dashing under out windows. Seven miles out arc the Goodwin Sands 
. . . whence floating lights perpetually wink after dark, as if they were 
carrying on intrigues with the servants.’ 

Tke Harmsworths spent a succession of summer holidays at Broadstrio. 
During the earhest visits, they stayed in rooms at a villa called Oakleigh. 
For later hohdays fiiey took 4 Flint Cottages furnished. Max Pemberton 
was.sometimes their weekend guest, and he has told how they foimd the 
property which became Alfred’s favourite place of residence duMg me 
rest of his Hfc. They had a dogcart in which they were often seen jogging 
through the dusty Thanet lanes. ‘Returning from an expedition to Sand- 
wich one day, we drove through the village of St. Peters, and beyond it 
the ancient village of Reading Street, whidi was then but a small collec- 
tion of cottages At a turmng, our horse decided upon a Uttle reflection 

and, pausing to admire the view, he allowed us to see over a high w^, 
beyond which lay as beautiful a garden as Thanet could show.’ Further 
along the wall was a 'for sale’ board. Alfred asking about it the next 
morning, was told the price, and inspected the property, which was 
known as Elmwood. Almost from die first glance he had decided that it 
must be his. 



‘a pound a week for life’ 

Harold Harmsworth to Alfred Hannswotth; 

Wiesbaden. 

[Undated]. 

My dear Alfred, — We are having a very jolly time here. The Mater is in 
fine form. 

I hope you have arrived at a dedsioa about ‘Elmwood’. I should think you 
could pay jCs®® down and if you have to Kuse the remainder of the purchase 
money by a mortgage you could discharge the morrgage by quarterly payments 
of ;C500 each. I should advise you not to undertake definitely to do tms as in 
the event of any unforeseen contingency it might cause you great anxiety to 
fulfil the terms of the mortgage. 

In any case, 1 should not be W by the auctioncts to bid against unseen would- 
be purchasers. You have made another offer, I presume, and I should not under 
any drcumstances advance the offer by so much as a ,^5 note. It is the only 
way to deal with these people. 

Any mongage you may enter into should have plenty of alternative condi- 
tions securing you from its bmg foredosed. 

In any case, if you do not secure ‘Elmwood’, 1 , from my point of view, 
think it will be to yout advantage. At the end of s years’ time an estate of i,ooo 
acres or so wiU be more in your form. It will obtain for you a county standing 
which will, of course, be very nice. Can you not again approach them as to 
renting ‘Elmwood’* 

I should like to be able to tell you how much money you may reckon to 
teedve during the next 12 months. I do not, however, like to make any definite 
statemenc Exercising every economy, I should think it would not be less than 
;(]io,ooo. If you in buying ‘Elmwood’ nuke yout arrangements on the basis 
of receiving /y.ooo, you cannot very well go wrong- If anything then happens 
you can satisfy yourself by the knowledge that you adopted every precaution. 
I, as well as cvciy other member of the family, will. I mow, think that your 
happiness u the first conuderadon. 

Youn, 

HAROLD. 

Alexander Beaumont to Alfred Harmsworth: 

TTie Normandy Hotel, 

Rue de \’Echc)ic, 

Paris. 

2ist September, 1B90. 

Dear Alfred, — I have only to interview my bankers and you to have tlie 
mortgage drawn up and the monc)' will be j'ours. 

Wc are so ver^’ pleased to think that ‘Elmwood’ is nosv yours — jtju mfcht 
have searched the world over and not found a place to suit you so well. I 
should hke 'Grannie’ [Mrs. BeaumoutJ to sceriicpliccand >-ou tvvoin it— you 
will have to call it 'Arcadu*. 

Yours, as c%-cf, 

ALEX. S. BEAUMONT. 


119 



NORTIlCUnX 


Elmwood, St. Peters. Kent, about a mile inland from the North Fore- 
land shore between Broa^tairs and Margate, was a Tudor farmhouse 
come to manorial status by various inharmonious additions of rooms and 
quarters over the years. Much re-fadng of its brick and flint had already 
obliterated its origins. Sunding in about nmc acres of wood, garden and 
pasture, behind flint walls guarded by red pillared gateways, with splendid 
viess-s of the sea, it no doubt seemed to Alfred Harmsworm the ‘eminently 
desirable property’ of the house agents’ advertisements, capable of pro- 
viding the social requisite of ‘background*. A rambling house, it had un- 
even staircases and low large rooms, full of comfortable comers. The 
windows overlooked meadows to which the ioihnc coming off the sea 

f ive a rich perpetual greenness. Tall, thin elms and fir trees screened the 
ousc. Southward, there was a fine sloping view down to the edge of the 
chalk chffs of Joss Day. The property cost Kim ;£4,ooo, his first purchase 
out of the profits of Atisurrt as distinct from earnings. He avas able to 
commit himself to a short-term mortage, paid off in twelve months. A 
diar)’ note states that, in addition, it cost him ;(^i,6oo ‘to get into the 
house’, meaning, no doubt, repairs, decorations and furnishing. Thus at 
nvcnty-fivc he was master of a small esute and one to which he remained 
senamenuliy ituched for the rest of his life. He always preferred Elm- 
wood to any oilier house he owned or lived in. It was fiis nearest realiza- 
tion of home, tliough for him home in its most compelling sense vm 
always svhere his mother lii-cd. 

For her, at the same time, he bought a London house, i la MaidaVale, 
to the gift of which he added furniture and a carriage and pair. A "little 
later on she became the owner of thdr old home, 9+ Boundary Road, 
Sl lohn’s Wood. Harold wrote to Alfred, in March 1892, to say that he 
had cleared off the last small mortgage instalment on her behalf; it wu 
bought as an mvestment. After tsvcnty-fivc yean of marriage, in the 
course of which she had known as much hardship as happiness, she could 
comforts ofher former state and no one was more gratified 
than her eldest son who made it possible. Her first tliought, when security 
came, was to present a stained glass window to Sl. Augustine's Church, 
Kilbum, m memory of her husband. 

Alfred was promptly generous, too, in providing for his brothers and 
sisters. Icicciter, ssbo, like CedJ. had thought of going into the Church, 
was Sent to study at Oxford, without entering the university. Hildebrand 
«-2fpaf«t£hamforjf efsor, the Rev. Gi/pcrt Edwardcs, bcftircgooig 
up to Merton College, Oxfori 'I’ve told him on no account to play 
baccarat with the Pnnee,* Alfred wrote to his mother, ‘as he comes of a 
respectable fimily.’ St. John, whohadbeenat Henley House, w here H. C. 
Wclb was teaching science and wrinng for the s^ool magazine which 
Alfred had founded, was sent to f^uconWrg Grammar School, at Beccles, 


120 



‘a pound a week for life’ 

in Suffolk, an early eighteenth-century foundation with a good record of 
preparation for the university- He went up to Christ Church, Oxford. 
Vyvyan was sent to Charterhouse and Cambridge. I d like my brothers 
to be better equipped than I am', Alfred told Comyns Cair, the barrister- 
playwright, on one of their fishing trips. Geraldine, or Dot , who lud 
recently gone out to India to marry Lucas White King, of the Indian Civil 
Service, was given a belated trousseau and a money allowance. Liketvise, 
he made arrangements for the education and future security of his youngs 
sisters, Violet and Chrisubel. ‘Remote Irish cousins’, as Cecil Harmsworth 
called them, received less sympathetic consideration. To their requests or 
loans and bank guarantees Alfred was curiously unresponsive. 

Cecil Harmsworth to his sister, Geraldine: 


1 12, Maida Vale, 

N.W. 

Dec. 29th, 1890. 

My driest Dotleim.-You can imagine that we felt tathet Mefcl for tome 
time aftet your depattute, hut we ate teaHy inch a busy family now that we 
haven’t much time for gtief. What with lettling dotvn in the new house, and 
htinging out the three tags every week we have alwata enough to do m*pu 
indidgiag in unnecessary sentiment. Besides, it would be rather eo , 

form to be shedding buckets of lean over here when you are looking forward 
with joy to the happy meeting with your own. , » . 1 

Methinks I see you seated at the entrance to a rather shabby-loo^g 
(hke a wigwam) watching a large pot merrily simmering 
thetmomeftt te^stets some a jo iS the shade, and you ate airily amted m one 
of your numetom cotton gowns. A hat. four fet m ““T 

yout tippling, tunshine hair. Tropical laigejeaved trees shut out the sutround 
ing sccneiy and birds of gay plumage flit faun hough to ““8'’- . . 

Don't be astonished at all this nonsense. The 5ton« tea . , 

'An, wets’ ate vituting my mind and I find myself unconsciously adopting 

m-d'r^t'e gefaig on with the attmgemenn a~od.’ md 
■t won’t be long before they ate away too and then we sh^ k left alone 
together. Mother is reasonably cheerful and on the whole “ 
the heart could wish. The kids ate a, bontetous as ever. . . . lu laa. im ^ 
well md as cheerily in the House of Hamtst^rth as -s possible 
Dotkias. 1 fiud that I have only room eo enclose boundless love and aliection 
ind to r 


Your loving bfo, 
CECIL. 


Getaldme’s departure for India may h*’'' , 'TSv WTOte' 
dnn,„, article on story wrifing. which WU ““Zm 6m 

Most ploB. we beheve. ate derived not from teal facts, but from Ucts 



NORTHCXIFFE 


which suggest themselves to us es posable in 

blow, what if Miss Smith, who is going out to totiia to marry •> J", ^ 
there should fall in love with somebody ebe during the voyage. . . . M 
was grist to that mill. His editorial cnterpiise was at die same nme reaching 
out for the coming new writers: 


Misougill House, 

Kirkby Lonsdale. 

24th December, 1890. 

Dear Sir,— I shall be happy to do a story at the rate of £5 per 1,000 words, 
■which is my present scale. Let me know at once if that suits you. 

Yours CuthhiUy, 

A. CONAN DOYLE. 


Never forgettmg his experiences as a freelance in Fleet Street, Alfred 
now made a strong editorial point of paying his contributors on a^ept- 
ance’, writing inHs ‘Editorial Chat*: ‘I cansute. without boastmg,thattnc 
system of immediate payments is entirely due to Answers. At one me 
auAors were obliged to wait often for wceb, sometimes for montm, ana 
occasionally years, for payment for pigeon-holed contributions. He re- 
turned to the subject in later issues. ‘Tlie modem tendency to increase e 
payment of authors cannot be too widely commended , he wrote as part 
of a special announcement to contributors. Until the stnval of Nes^c 
and Harmswotth, rates of literary payment were humiliatingly low, otien 
half-a-crown for a paragraph or a set of verses and ten shillings tor a 
column. ‘Our usual rate of remuneration is per column— aboi^ 1.2^ 
words', Sidney (afterwards Sir Sidney) Low, of The St. James Gazette, 
wrote to Lord Mountmorres, of AfifU’cr# staff. For the professional writer, 
Alfred Harmsworth maintained the considerate attitude throughout his 
life, although in his early publishing years he was satisfied to commission 
a serial story of 52,000 words for yj75. No other proprietor or emtor, 
before or since, has shown a more practical understanding of the writer s 
economic position. ^ 1 • l. 

While he was making his plans for raising the family's standing in me 
world, he imposed on himsdfa counc of reading for the preliminary Bar 
examination. Possibly because he had no chance of going to a university, 
as he was enabling his younger brodiers to do, he felt a need to improve 
his personal qualifications to match theirs. ‘I can’t read without emotion o 
Alfred’s lessons m Latin and history anudst all his intense preoccupations 
with the business’, Cecil Harmswordi wrote on seeing, years afterwards, 
his brother’s diary notes about tiiat aspiration of his. Alfred had wntten 
for January 18, 1891; ‘Wrote to Mr Giffaid, asking hirn to use^ m- 
fluence to excuse me from the Bar prehm. examination.’ Mr Giffam, a 
relative of the then Lord Chancellor, relied that he would do his best. 


122 



NORTHCUFFE 


about my money difficulties, so your letter was no surprise to him. My Father 
is very anxious for my success in life, he and I never fall out. I never had a 
single quarrel with liim, and I hope I never sliaE. 

You are quite mistaken if you think he looks upon me as a Rothschild, he 
knows my income, thinks I have done well, and he blames nobody but myself 
for leaving the firm. Can you expect a Father to feel quite satisfied that his son 
is making about j^Coo a year and his son's late partner ;£io,ooo ayear? He does 
not quire realise your brains and my want of them. But I assure you he never 
says anything of you and Harold except in praise. 

Now, Alfred, you have given me many a good jaw, let me give you one. 
Every letter you write me is full of guesses. In one you guess I am extrava- 
gant, in another that I am going about cursing you and that my Fatlier is doing 
the same. There are lots of other things you surmise without any right. I 
ought not to mind them because I know they all emanate from some recess of 
your own brain. Don’t guess any more, like a good man. 

Very kind regards to your wife, iioping that the ait of Elmwood, St. Peter’s, 
Kent, will suit her. 

Yours affectly., and not in a rage, 

CARR. 

Cart wrote again a few weeks later to assure Alfred that he was doing 
his best 'to try and get square’, and that he was spending nothing that he 
could possibly avoid. He added as postscript: ‘You never tell me what you 
ate dome now. Is you: income very large?' If Alfred answered that inquiry 
he was hltely to have done so with an optimism not shared by his brother. 
Harold was watching the firm’s fortunes with a particularly gloomy eye 
just then, ‘aoth Apn), 1891 — 1 find that Ansiivrt literary account is still 
incrcasmg at a tremendous rate. Up to this date we have paid for April 
;i()r8o or, if nothing mote is paid this month, ^45 a week. Unless some- 
thing is done, Ansims finances vnll be approaching a chaotic condition.’ 
He wrote a reminder a few weeks later: 'Literary account still terrific.’ 
Alfred, meanwhile, had the satisfaction of noting in liis diary; ‘Paid off 
nearly all debts’, presumably mcludmg lliffe’s printing bill, which had 
been outstanding an embarrassingly long while. He was able to indulge 
the luxury of having his diim spedally made for him and took cate to 
note that, too. A social occasion, recorded at the same rime, gave him a 
chance to enjoy an experience wluch had been well known to lus father, 
as a friend of George Jealous: ‘Saturday Night Dinner at the Savage Club 
with Harold and Max Pemberton. A very amusing evening. I enjoyed 
Mr Odeil s recitations particularly’, a reference to a celebrated personality 
of the Bohemian world. 

Alfred and Mary Harmsworth moved into Elmwood on April 15. 
1891, a day on which Alfred noted: ‘This is one of the latest springs on 
record. trees are onlyjustbcgjmung to shoot.’ They had been lodging 
at 36 Albion Street, Broadstairs, ‘Aliss Gillman's, over Paisons Library , 


124 



‘a pound a week for life 

while Liberty’s of London were canying out interiot decorations and 
furnishing at Elmwood. The telephone was mstalled. It wm , 

of a new thing that Mudford, editor of the Evenmg SimJfd, “ctad to 
have it in the office or at Ks home. Mr Gladstone lemamed obstmatciy 

confused about the difference between the telephone and the phonograpn. 

Cedi Harmswotth wrote to their cousin Evesratd Hamilton m Dubhn. 
'Alfred and Mary look quite different life and 

always seem to hi in die best of spirits.’ He added: ’Alfred is *e liff a"d 
soul if the business. He is brimful of ideas.’ Cecil himself was ffie subjert 
of a memorandum to Al&ed from HatoU; June 4-He -“B” “ 
have that editor’s column in Comic Cuts again. He has tio so 
now and it would mean an extra half-guinea a week m s p 
Stuff is quite good. . . .* 

Alfred Harmswotth to Everard Hamilton: 

Elmwood, 

St. Peter’s, 

Kent. 

IV. VII. 1891. 

My dear Everatd,— My wife and I ate exceedingly „d 

visit us this summer. If you would name any nme beyond an 

Decemhe. we should be inuch rejoiced. We “ "htn and 

occasional country dinner parry I can offer no more am 
driving. Neveitheless, you must come. by my dear 

In writing to you I am reminded of a panage ui a e-tbet vns writing 

fuhe. at the time of the death of Grandfather Maffett. My fate g 

from Chapehrod and he says {to his -olM- Bve'»rd m^ro" *1 su^? 
here. Hi, father is the kindesi friend «e have and I shall never forget it. 1 n p 
With many good wishes for •you and yours. 

Vounmousm^l^^^ORTH. 

Beaumont had been seriously ill: ‘Wc 1 **''*^ tell her: 

our Chairman'. Alfred wrote to Mn Beaumont. He went 

I prophesy that in December of this year, Slir is 

P-rprn vn[\ be ahead of the biggest atculatioti m 

ge^g complete and we have £21,000 ^ year P ^ . s jjours. getting there 
P rased ,wth the 

When Mrs Beaumont replied that her husband’s convalescence was 

125 



NORTIICUFFK 


accompanied by much depression of spirits, Alfred wrote to him in a tone 
of cheeky disregard for the vndc iffercncc in their years, heading his 
letter, ‘from the garden at Elmwood’: 


My dear Cap, — We all have our troubles, you know, some time or other, 
and you have esaped many that make the lives of other men a burden. You 
have no pecuniary cares, no worrying family, no enenues, no regulation round 
of humdrum toil, while you have fiienJi, at least average health, success and 
prosperity, and many interesting pursuits and hobbies. Cheer up, my dear Cap., 
ufe is all right. You look at it through tltose blue specs of yours and they give 
you the 'blues*. Probably you arc both soil tired from your journey. We don't 
like to think of any of ur being in low spirits. 

‘Answers* is exceeding expectations and l‘m &uly sure of 250,000 this year. 
This week wc did 200,500. 

There are many things waiting completion for j'our advice and approvaL 
This place is a dream and I can work here admirably. My ambition is to free 
‘Elmwood’ by Xmas and so get rid of your clutches, you graspmg, greedy, 
Jewish sixty per ccnt.-!oving miser. If all goes well, 1 can nearly do jt. 

There is a nice fat sum waiting for you at the office. 

Yours altvays, 

ALFRED. 

In anothet letter to Captain Beaumont. Alfred TcfetTed to hb intention 
of placing 'those near to me beyond the fear of financial ups and downs’. 
He was anxious, he wrote, ‘to secure for me and mine a large amount of 
solid capital*, which he proposed to put only 'into tivo things, Consob 
and Railway Debentures’. After that, he planned to *do what you do, 
speculate with die interest, the capital being safely locked up*. The letter 
ended with the appeal: ‘I wish you would get a photograpn of yourself 
and Gran. I haven't a decent one of you. Yours always, Alfred.’ While it 
seems that, with die expansion of the Answers Company’s business, Harold 
Harmswotth tended to become intolerant of Beaumont’s pan in it, the 
correspondence shows that Alfred’s footing with dieir backer was friendly, 
often cordially so, up to the summer of 1891, nearly five years after th«r 
original transacrion together. He had written in hb diary for February 1 7. 
1891: ‘Capt. Beaumont came to lunch and agreed to advance /500 out of 
his profits for each new paper we staned, and also agreed to wd a codicil 
to nis will to the effect mat our family should have the first opportunity 
of buying hb “Answers” and "Comic Cuts” shares in the event of his 
death at a 3 years and 18 monthsvaluationtespectively.’ The swift develop- 
ment of the business brought to its young founder and his still younger 
brother new complexities of work and responsibility and these in turn 
produced temperamental situations which had not been foreseen in 
Scheme Magnifico’. 


126 



‘a pound a week for life 

Alfred Harmsworth to Leicester Harmsworth; 

ANSWERS, 

Editorial Department, 

io8, Fleet Street, E.C. 

25th July, 1891. 

My dear Leicester,— I am very glad to find there is plenty of room for out 
work in the town. . 1 r . Cr^r 

This was our best week, 760,000 papers. Next week the rs or 
Ai^swm ate ata.ooo. That is the hoHday niambet, of course; pKhaps we may no 
240,000. If we do, it will be very satis&ctoty progress. Come keeps up we 

Cliipj doesn’t CO down. . ,. 

I have not heard from Hildebrand lor a long time. What IS has adtesi 
1 suppose you know you are conung to London for the oys p p 
going to blossom out into a full-blown sub-editor. 

ALFRED. 

Leicester Harmsworth, Esq., 

IJ, Frederick Street, 

Accrington. 

Soon their sales touched 800.000 copi« weekly- The 
MW well in sight- For them it was in itsclfa go^ testimony 

conqueibeforethey climbedstiUhighct.Dcspitcdieaccountants 

there were sceptic who beUeved that the 
An older rJident of St. Peters was watching 
wcreasingly nervous eye. He was Edwin L Brett, w-hoh^d at ^ 
nor fat from Elmwood. He had surroimded slreastic 

of armour about which visiting ‘dreadfuls’, 

^ong themselves. He had made money out of a sene of his remcm- 

whichhe published from 173 Fleet Street. Acontemp ^ 
heted ‘the Fleet Street newsagents’ boys %hting m -Juness, he 


tbc wd of the century, absorbing several oth publishing list con- 

l^rbway as a boys’ fiction hero. At one time B J Uumal was 

sistcdofadozentitlcs, papers of varyingfortme . ^ Q^^niayhavc 

°nc of his money-makU founded in 1883. The died 

owed him some acknowledgment for ^pitattofij" 'Harkaway House’, 
a man of wealth. The business w» then rnove request for help 

^«t Harding Street, Fetter Lane. There it fad memben of the Brett 
jr«c afterwafes written to Alfred HanmworA by^/Xy appeals were 
&”dy: 'A, you know, he w» fi«,”‘i,®t',^^X 4 Tpcr,onJ calU a. 


127 


Clinpicr Six 


History of a Quarrel 


‘If we stick to our work, wc sluH soon pass ;^ 40 ,ooo ^ ywf. which Nc\vn« 
points to with so much pride.’ Harold Harmsworth was svriting to Alfred, 
for once a long letter instead of his usual terse weekly progress report, 
e.g.: My dear Alfred,— Mstms 207.000, Comic Cuts 3 jS.ooo, Chips 197,000. 
Yours, Harold. The letter showed the ahertiating current of tlui sub- 
sequently eminent business brain, caution amounting to pessimism con- 
trasting with exhilarating hope. Gloomy about the rise in Answers ‘literary 
expenses', about advertisers' suspicions ‘that there is still a great deal of 
shoddy about Answers', and the increasing risk of ‘one or tsvo insurance 
claims^ damaging the paper’s finances, Harold was at the same rime 
capable of vistuhzing the company owning its premises and moving on 
from that stage to a public issue of shares. ‘I may be sanguine, but if we 
had six or seven flounsliing publicatiom we should make ^70,000 or 
p(^8o,ooo a year.' 

A third Harmsworth company was formed in November 1891, The 
Periodical Pubhshmg Corporation Ijmitcd’, wth a capital of fsoo. 
Alfred held 300 shares, Harold 1 50, Cecil 10, Leicester 10, the Harmswortli 
Trust 30. The Trust had been founded to provide for the education of 
members of the family who were as yet too young to take part in the 
business. The immediate purpose of tne new company was to launch a 
penny weekly paper, Forget-Me-Not, aimed at the potentially immense 
new reading public of women. Few papen were deahng exclusively svith 
women’s particular interests. Those wniich did were mostly printed on 
poor quality paper and trafficked in sentimental articles and stories and 
insipid poetry and gave away cheaply reproduced fashion plates. In a 
higher and more expensive class were journals like The Queen, the Ladies' 
Field and the Lady’s Picterwl, with small, exclusive circulations. For the 
advanced members of the sex, who smoked cigarettes in public, read The 


128 





'If wc stick to our work, we shall soon pass £40 ,om a year, which 
points to with so much pride.' Harold Harmsworth was svritmg to AUreU, 
for once a long letter instead of his usual terse weeUy progress repm, 

e.g.;My*«rd5reJ.— Ameers 207 , 000 , CeinicC»B33S, 000, 

Yours, Hmld. The letter showed the alternating current of that sub- 
sequently eminent business brain, caution amounting to pessimism con- 
trasting with exh^rating hope. Gloomy about the rne in Asiocrs temw 
expenses’, about advertisers’ suspicions ‘that there is still a great deal 
shoddy about Ansieers’, and the increasing risk of one or two insunince 
claims' damaging the paper’s finances, Harold was at the same tim 
capable of visuahaing the company owning its premises and moving on 
from that stage to a pubhc issue of shares. I may be sangmne, but it we 
had six or seven flourishing publications wc should make or 


^80,000 a year.’ _ 

A third Harmsworth company was formed in November 1891, 
Periodical Pubhshing Corporation Limited’, with a capital or 
Alfred held 300 shares, Harold 150. Cecil 10. Leicester 10. the HarmsworUi 
Trust 30. The Trust had been founded to provide for the education o 
members of the fcmily who were as yet too young to take part ® 
business. The immediate purpose of the new company was to launc a 
penny weekly paper, Forget-Me-Not, aimed at the potentially irnmense 
new reading pubhc of women. Few papers were dealmg exclusively w 
women’s particular mterests. Those wtich did were mostly printed on 
poor quahty paper and traiflckcd in sentimental articles and stories an 
insipid poetry and gave away dieaply reproduced &shion plates, m a 
Wgher and more expensive class were journals like The Queen, the Ladia 
Field and the Lady’s Pictorial, wtii small, exclusive circulations. For me 
advanced members of the sex, who smoked cigarettes in public, read The 


128 





Mary Elizabeth Miincr, a photograpti taken a few years after her marriage to 
Alfred Hatituworth 



Al/VnJ agal tJiirn- 



26 Paternoster Square, the first oHicc of Answer 




HISTORY OF A QUARREL 

Yellow Book, and talked of the vote, Acre was JVomati, edited by Arnold 
Bennett. For^ei-Afe-Nol was planned to give better value for a penny than 
Ac few cxistmg women’s papers <Ud at a higher price. 

‘In its wrapper of delicate loi^et-me-not blue, Por^el-Me-Not will be as 
bright and pure as the flower Atom which it gets its name.’ The touch was 
fairly certainly Alfred’s. Its sub-dtle was; A Pictorial Journal for Ladies. 
Among its first advertised attractions were the ‘Diary of a Professional 
Beauty’ and ‘Confessions of a Wallflowet’. Etiquette was an mAspensablc 
topic: ‘Trains should be held with Ac right hand’, and the paper stuck 
rigidly to Ae mceties of social mtcrcourse by referrmg always to ‘laAes’ 
and ‘gentlemen’ m dealing wiA Ac sexes. Women m durance vile were 
‘lady convicts’. Its illustrations were light and graceful, filigree drawings 
showing ‘laAes’ m Ae setm-dcvodonal postures required by decency as 
well as by fashion. The tone was excessively proper m the governess 
sense approved by the dominant social influence, Ae court of Ac ageing 
Queen. 

Forget-Me-Not started uncertainly along Ae path to its ultimate success. 
There was a AflScult period m which Harold wrote; ‘The circulation is 
still as limp as ever. F-M-N is undoubtedly m a very critical conAtion.’ 
There were rumours of its bemg a failure and Ae lirmsworths dedded 
not to Ascourage Acm, so that Aeit triumph was Ae more complete 
when Forget-Me-Not was seen to dominate Ae market for women's 
papers— ‘m point of time, absolutely Ae most successful publication ever 
issued’, was Alfred’s claim m writmg. ‘It has a drculation larger than all 
Ae laAes’ jounuls that have been established for 20 years.’ 

Harold Harmswotth to Alfred HarmsworA*. 

108, Fleet Street, 

E.C. 

30th September, 1S91. 

My dear Alfred, — Re ‘Forget-Me-Not’ and Captain Beaumont’s tenA share. 
I duly wrote to Opcain Beaumont asking for ^1,000 and pointing out Ac 
conArions under wluch he was to parddpatc. I said that the f^i.ooo was to be 
paid in any case, whether the journal paid or not. To this he takes exception. 

Under these circumstances, I am of opinion that the offer should be with- 
drawn and that he should not parridpatc in any way whatever. We should he 
prepared to risk j^i,ooo and if wc keep our hcaA cool there is absolutely no 
reason why any money should be wanted at all. I will engage Aat if Ae journal 
bemns to pay %vithin three months you wiU not be asked for any money 
whatever. 

lean rtm Ae thing on credit and pay offwhen it show a profit hut, of course, 
if Ac habihries reach /r.ooo I will iet you know immediately. 

My argument, briefly, is that if the journal pays, Ae ;(jl,ooo will not be 
Vk-anred, but if Ae journal does not wy the ,£1.000 will not go very far. 

Captain D’s tenA share I connocr to belong to Ae bop. They can do a 


129 



NORTHCUFFE 


great deal more for our business than Captain Beaumont’s odd thousand 
pounds. _ 1. , y 

You have now been relieved of the liability of ‘Elmwood (^1,000 going to 
you today) and ate quite in a position to risk during the next three 

monfos. If it pays, then one-tenth share, ^instead of being worth ;^i,ooo, will 
be worth £10,000. 

I am quite willing to go to the extent of necessary. 

We are not bound by any honourable engagements to continue the offer to 
Captain B. He has objected to the terms, which is tantamount to a refusal. 
Wire me on receipt and I will write him saying the matter is off. 

Youts, 

HAROLD. 


Harold Harmsworth to Alfred Harmswotth: 

108, Fleet Street, 

E.C. 

ist October, 1891. 

My dear-Alfred, — Answers aat.ooo. Comic Cues 545,000, Chips 199,000. 
In reference to Beaumont and his first letter to me, I sho^d say that he did cot 
refuse to pay ^1,000 for a tenth share, but that from his letter he appeared 
discontented with the provision that the would be divisible by all the 

proprietors in propotcion to the shares owned by them. He described It as 
news to him’ and said the £i,ooo or balance might be divided ‘provided the 
money was not required for pushing the paper’. 

These remarks appear to me to be reflections on ourselves, and after the 
manner in which we both, and particularly yourself, have treated him, I 
consider they are most unmerited. I have, however, written to him in the 
terms of your letter and told lum dut the tenth share can be obtained for 
£2,500. 

Beaumont has apparently an idea that he is the central pivot on which this 
business turns. For my part, I am quite willing to cerntribute my share of the 
necessary capital, as wcU as give something very handsome towards obtaining 
the other tenth for the boys. 

I have no particular faith in Beaumont. He would have invested in 'Pearson’s 
Weekly’ unless wc had put our feet down. 

Youis, 

HAROLD. 

Harold Harmswotth to Alexander S, Beaumont: 

108, Fleet Street, 
E.C. 

1st October, 1891. 

Dear Captain, — I have again heard from Alfred in reference to the. tenth 
share in Forget-Me-Not. He now thinks a tenth share in the publication is 
worth £1,500 (two thousand five hundred pounds) and in this I fully agree 


130 



HISTORY OF A QUARREL 

with him. Would you therefore let me laiow whether you are prepared to go 
in at this price? My letter of the 28th ulto. should read with the alteration of 
■[,2,soo, instead of ;^i,ooo. 

As you know, the plan of publication has entirely changed and instead of 
bringing out a cheap novelette, we arc now producing a high-class penny 
journal for ladies. 

Candidly speaking, we do not require the venture to be financed, as both 
Alfred and mj^clf arc quite sviUing to do diis. In this kind of business s ktll and 
ability account for everything and capita! for nothing. 

Yours sincerely, 

HAROLD HARMSWORTH. 

Alexander S. Beaumont to Harold Harmsworth: 

South Norwood Park, 

S.E. 

2nd October, I891. 

Dear Harold, — As I accepted the offer made in your letter of the 28th ulto., 
in my reply to you dated 29th September, you cannot alter the sum agreed 
upon for mv one-tenth share in For^el-Me-Kot, which amount had been 
settled verbally many weeks previously. 

Had you told me that Alfred wished to fun the journal by yourselves (the 
straightforward course) I should not have objected, but, as you did not, I hold 
you to the offer, which I accepted. 

Yours as always, 

AUX. S. BEAUMONT. 

Harold Harmssvorth to Alfred Harmsworth; 


roS, Fleet Sircet, 

E.C. 

6th October, 1891. 

My dear Al&ed, — Re Beaumont, wc shall have some difficulty in this matter, 
but I think I see the way clear ahead. In regard to Beaumont s financing the 
undertakint;, I have alwa)^ desired to Ib^et the fact so long as matters went 
smoothly that much more of the financing was done by you and, in a much 
less degree by myself, than by Beaumont All the advertising, prizes, and 
iniurance money fias'c been really capital ouda)i. 

You and 1 have had to contribute our quota, as wtU as put in all the necessary 
work required to conduct the paper. As )-ou know, after I came to the business, 
no money was put in, but notwithstanding this, something like JLt.oqo has 
been spent wKicn otherssisc might have been paid in disidends. Of this sum. 
according to the present holding of shares, you haso ccncributed /Ij.Sjo while 
I m^'self have put ui about jC*»I0O, Beaumont on this basis has contributed the 
first £1.750, total £j.50O. You have therefore paid for about 30% of your 
sliarcs and rccrived only 25% for editing. 

Diis, to my mind, is a prepostetom position and your interests should be 





NORTHCUFFE 


supplemented if there is unpleasantness by a salary of at least ;£3.ooo a year. 
My salary should bear a proportion to yours, so that you should not have to 
pay anytrung. Cecil, too, should have a good salary. 

Bennett [chartered accountant] has often pi« this matter before me in the 
proper light, but, as you know, I am very conservative in my habit of mind, 
and much averse to a change unless need arises. 

I shall send you tomorrow a copy tif my correspondence svith Beaumont, if 
he will not accept a straightforvrard offex for hb shares we ought to know 
what to do. 

Yours, 

HAROLD. 

Writing in his diary for the next day, October 7, Alfred noted; 
‘Received a rather stirring letter from Beaumont. Went up [from 
Broadstairs] to see Harold, who made some startling statements to me 
about the matter.’ The ^ary note continues discursively: ‘Came back by 
the Granville Express. Parnell died today and W. H. Snuth yesterday, hi 
the evening I gave an entertainment consisting of magic lantern and tea to 
the village school here. Received the result of my first roll of Kodak 
pictures, ivith which, on the whole, I am pleased.’ 

Alexander S. Beaumont to Harold Harmsworth: 

South Norwood Park, 

S.E. 

7th October, 1891. 

Dear Harold, — Of course, I plainly sec that you do not want me in the new 
venture, but, I must remind you, that when I handed over to you and Alfred 
the greater number of the Shares I had purchased from Ma/ksvick at the same 
price 1 had given for them I did $0 because it was an understanding between 
Alfred, you and I that 1 should do so. 

I could have put an extra price on them, or could have demanded instant 
payment for them, but I carried out my part of the arrangement loyally. In 
the same way, it was arranged and. agreed between Alfred, you and I that I 
should have the one-tenth share in the new penny journal for £1,000, and the 
one-tenth in the new halfpenny joutnab for £500 each — and I expect you both 
to be asloyal tome wl have invariably been to you, not only in the case of the 
Markwick shares, but from the very beginning. 

Yours as always, 

ALEX. S. BEAUMONT. . 

On October 9 Alfred made a diary note: ‘Paid Capt. Beaumont £ 450 t 
whidi cleared me of all debts to him for Elmwood and Markwick’s shares. 
He promised to invest £1,500 extra in F<}faet-Me-Not, if necessary, 
£2.500 in all.’ On Oaober la he recorded that ‘Capt. Beaumont 
forwarded me the receipt for my last payment on Elmwood and £1,000 
for Forget-Me-Not, together with a letter, which I fded. I svrote to him 



HISTORY OF A QUARREL 

that I did not think he ought to bargdn about Forget-Me-Not considering 
the handsome treatment he had received at our hands’. 

In the history of the estrangement of die Harmsworths and Beaumont, 
finance was the factor assisting the breakdown of a relationship already 
jeopardized by differences of another kind. Harold, in particular, had 
strong personal reservations about Beaumont, whose part in the business 
he clearly begrudged. Unlike his brother, who was not invariably realistic 
in money matters, he refused to regard it as indispensable. He had not been 
early enough on the scene to share Alfred's gratidcation at having capital 
made available to him for the furtherance of his ambition. The story has 
persisted in the family that, outraged by Beaumont’ s conduct in the office, 
Harold once pushed him out of a room. A long surviving member of 
Artstms staff remembered hearing Mrs Beaumont say with haughty em- 
phasis as she left iq8 Fleet Street with her husband after one more stormy 
scene; ‘We will go now where wc can find somc^c/i/huien! . . There 
Were grievances on both sides. Beaumont was much upset by Alfred 
Hatmsworth calling On him for money to pay a printer’s bill at a time 
when he was ill in bed and unfit to talk business. 

Harold Hatmsworth to Alfred: 


loS, Fleet Street, 

E.C. 

!$t December, 1891. 

My dear Alfred, — Beaumont has nobbled the shares of Miss Rowley, who 
has resigned. As a counter move, 1 have on Graham’s approval [William 
Graham, solidtorl got sworn starements re Beaumont from Scott, Skinner, 
and Ebden. I shall get two mote tomorrow. Graham says the case is strong 
enoueJj fo king a at. 

When you come up on Monday you can read the statements. Graham says 
that if there is the least nonsense, wc must at once tell Beaumont about the 
evidence. 

1 am on the alert and ready for any move. 

Yours. 

HAROLD. 


Although Harold had given him die good nev-T ilut there was a chance 
of the business making ^50,000 the next year, the crisis brought ncr\*ou$ 
tensions for Alfred, who wrote in his diary that he was ‘quite prostrated’ 
and had to stay in bed all day as a result of the news about Miss Rowley, 
to whom lie svrofc expressing surprise and regret. 'When you are rested, 
don’t let any false pnac forbid you reiummg. Let me say that after four 
years of luppy w ork it is dntressmg that your peace of mind sliould suffer 
because of other people’s differences.’ His favourite Aunt Miller had cause 
10 wntc to him. 


133 



NORTHCUFFE 


Warrior House Hotel, 

St. Leonards-on-Sea. 

4th December, 1891. 

My dear Alfred, — I did not answer your letter before as it caused me a good 
deal of pain. 

I cannot resist saying that had the positions been reversed I should not have 
written to you as you did to me, and also that had I had a little of your wordly 
wisdom when I came into my poor litdc income of ^^00 a year about seven- 
teen years ago, I should not have required to ask a loan from my rich nephew. 

No one but Mr Miller knoavs of my having avritten to you, and that was 
when it was unfalt accompli and the only favour you can do me now is to keep 
the matter to yourself. 

Your ever afFectionare 
AUNT. 


His aunt had lost money by the failure of her journalistic enterprise, 
JCe«si«^roM Society, which had made its dAict in the same year and month 
as Answers. Like her, Alfred was feeling the strain of proprietorship. His 
family sentiment, normally strong, reasserted itself more characteristically 
when he received the news that his eldest sister, in India, had become a 
mother. 

Alfred Harmsworth to Geraldine White King: 

Edicoria! Deparrmenr, 
■ANSWERS.’ 

108, Fleet Street, 
London. 

15th January, 1892. 

My dearest sister, — When I got home to Maida Vale last night I found the 
joyfid news of the safe arrival of a little niece. Terrific excitement among the 
tribe immediately ensued and everyone is in the full dignity of Aunt and 
Uncle, not to forget Grandmama. 

Boo’s (Vyvyams] remark was: ‘If I am unde, what’s Leicester and Hilderf 
He is sorely puziled over the problem. Aunt Pop in very fine form. I am 
seeing my solicitor Just now with a view to settuiig ^$0 on my niece and 
godcmld, who will not be forgotten in my svill, abo being made today. 

The babe arrived on the very best financul day in the history of the family. 
All our four pipers increased by j(|i,ooo a year yesterday, besides a niece. 

Mary’s full of excitement. Dear little soul, she has not been blessed and 
perhaps will not be, but some lucc little nephews and nieces will please us 
quite as well. 

Kiss the litde one for me dear,. 

With Iocs of love to all three, my dearest sister, 

Youn devotedly, 

ALFRED. 


134 



HISTORY OF A QUARREL 

He had been staying at the Hotel Mettopole, London, where on the back 
of a bill he scribbled evidence of his mental agitation: . . beiu^ egged on 
by some cheap hungry solicitor. . . . Why choose tliis parthilor lime when I am 
hampered by lack of assistants, illness and Xmas numbers? . . . Rude tone of 
letters not tihe you . . . . Why have you suddenly decided to throw over your own 
good hick and lake someone else's advice? . . . 

The old cordiality had evaporated. Al&cd wrote now, ‘Dear Beau- 
mont', and signed himself ‘Yours truly', recording in his diary that the 
worry was giving him sleepless nights. 'Iherc are references to Beau- 
mont’s ‘utter recldessness’, to his ‘remarkable conduct in ignoring the 
shareholders' interests’, to his ‘spreading lying rumours about us’, to the 
fact that there was no means of getring rid of him ‘svithout a public 
scandal’. A closing entry for 1891 is: ‘Found that Beaumont has been up 
to his tricks again. I cannot sit on the same board with him.’ From that 
lime forward, svith clinching finality, Alfred Harmsvvorth proclaimed 
himself as ‘Founder and Editor’ on Anavers page one. In 1892 he was 
named as founder and editor at the top of each page in several successive 
issues. Up to then, he had been content with being publicly knosvn as its 
editor. 

The Harmswotth-Beaumont quarrel is by no means completely docu- 
mented. A few letters, Alfred Harmsworth’s staccato diary notes, a 
dictated memorandum by Alexander Beaumont suting his dissatisfaction 
at the use of.rinfii’eri for advertising other Harmsworth publications, some 
notes made by Harold (as Lord Rothermere) years after, and the distant 
inconclusive recollections of no more than two or three survivors of the 
period, comprise the evidence for the opposing points of view. The story 
follows a famiUit pattern where mattal services arc equated with financbl 
backing. 'For all your sakes, I shall be thankful when the severance is 
complete and you may be congratulated.’ an old friend svrote to Alfred 
Harmsworth. ‘1 hope you haven’t paid too much. If so, I shall be vexed 
at those Us\’)'crs.’ Legal intcr\’cntion amplified and then pacified the 
grievances. Beaumont nad resigned his directorship of the Answers Com- 
pany, and the chairmanship of die Pandora Company, in December 1891, 
according to Alfred Harmsworth’s diar)' ‘on the score of ill-health’. On 
Augusts, 1892, Beaumont and his solicitor, Hargraves, called on Alfred ‘to 
try to arrange a settlement'. The diary note continues: 

After 3 hours’ discussion sst adjourned ctfl 6 o’clock when the discussion 
again commenced, and after between two and three hours more, it was settled 
and agreed that we sign an agreement whereby Capt. Beaumont is to have a 
bond for 8.000 on the joint and sole securin’ of our three companies with 
mrernt at jo%. 

On August 24 he wrote that Beaumont and his solidtor had called 

*J 5 



NORTIICUFFE 


attain. ‘In an hour we settled the matter sarisfactorily to all concerned.’ 
There is no documentary evidence of the transaction in the Harmsworth 
files. It is believed that there was a variation of the original settlement, as 
a result of whidr Beaumont received an annuity of ^2,400 a year, a not 
unfavourable return for his investment of ^^2,000. Difticultics conccniing 
Markwick’s half-sister’s shares flared up again the following year. There 
was a threat of legal proceedings, ‘a great nuisance', Alfred Harmsworth 
wrote in his duty, ‘when I thought all the trouble was over*. On July 2i, 

1 893 , he was relieved to write: * We settled our qiurrcls sviih Miss Rowley 
today.’ He dined that evening with Markwick at the National Liberal 
Club. There he was seized with *a very bad fainting fit*. 

Tlic luxury of a month's lioHday abroad was crowned by the news, on 
Alfred Harmswotth’s return to Fleet Street, that the circulation oC Answers 
had readied 300,000 a week. He had been pleased to see, when ashore at 
Gibralur, that ‘the soldier who had charge of the Visitors* Book in the 
Galleries was readme Ansti'ers, which, by the way, I had seen in Sicily and 
at Port Said and other places'. Sales of the paper had been helped by a 
Conan Doyle serial story, The Doini^s of Rajjfes JIow; price 5 ®’ 
the negotiations for the serial, that rapidly rising newcomer to authorship 
had written from 12 Tennison Road, South Nor.voed: ‘Forget whether I 
told you that I live now as above, having given up my professional work 
in Wimpolc Street.* Doyle says in his autobiography that it was from that 
address ilut he set out to live entirely by his pen. Raffles Haw was a pro- 
digiously wealthy man who tried to do good wi di liis money and who, 
when he saw tlie cfiects of his benefactions on weaker characters, com- 
mitted suicide ‘from a broken heart*. A cautionary tale which tJie more 
calculating philanthropists of the era probably found much to their taste. 
It was followed by Cortnef 99, or Penal Serr{{tiJe/or Life, by Marie Connor 
Leighton. I Icr gifts as a story-teller hadbeesi commended to Alfred Harms- 
worth by I lall Came, die novelist, two or three years previously. Coni’iVt p9 
was the true prototype of the serial story which haa the loyalty of a vast 
reading public until the paper shortages of the Pint World War compelled 
Its abandonment by nesvspapcrs and periodicals in general. It was so great 
a success tlui after its original publiation in Answers in 1892 it was several 
times reprinted in other papers. 

The serial story vogue was created by Alfred Harmsworth, Three years 

E fcviously he had tested, in Answers, the public interest in prison life svith 
IS ticket -of-!cave-man series of artides. Cotiviet 99 took die miscarriage of 
justice theme and introducctl into it nctv elements of drama. It was 
announced as being more than ^'usi a |nccc of enthralling fiction*. It was 
a ioail diKumcnt svhich raised the question: ‘Can prison sufferings be 
mitigatal f The walls of our convict prisons’, \sTOte the editor of Answers, 
'hide lives as terribly tried as those of the prisoners of Siberia. Chant)' 
136 



HISTORY OF A QUARREL 

bcginncth at home. Let us first inquire into the sufferings of the British 
criminal before we try to reform die Czar.* The public response showed 
that the formula was as sound as die instinct which had impelled him to 
secure all the rights in the story for Answers. He supervised each chapter 
and was several times obliged to jump into a hansom cab and drive off to 
29 Grove End Road, N.W., to induce its amusingly temperamental 
author to change an ^isode or devise a more striking ‘curtain*. He was 
ruthless in his demand that every instalment should luve what he called 
‘a news finish*. He may himself have suggested names for some of the 
characters. The heroine was called Gcraldmc. Her surname was Lucas, 
the first name of the man whom Geraldine Harmsworth had gone out to 
India to marry. 

Marie Connor Leighton’s daughter Clare, an artist of the woodcut, 
has recalled how in later years she more than once saw Alfred Harmsworth 
at the house lying on a sheepskin rug in the drawing-room, ‘flat on his 
stomach, his head buried in his hands’. Her mother, explaining this odd 
behaviour, told her that ‘he can think best when he is flat on his stomach. 
The blood doesn’t have to make the effort of running uphill to the brain*. 
He rewrote parts of another Leighton serial An Amazing Verdict, in the 
course of several visits co Grove End Road. It gave him, ne noted, ‘a lot 
of bother*. One night he worked so late tliat they had to give him a bed. 
He was deliehtcd when the Leightons’ small son, aged three, offered him 
a cigarette, fon his o\\'n account*. Marie Leighton, writing to him in her 
florid lalianatc hand, with letters two inches high, sought to touch him 
sentimentally by recalling the incident when in 1913 her long series of 
writing contracts with the Harmsworths came peremptorily to an end. 

Launching Convict p9 gave him a fine opportunit)’ to proclaim his 
faith, as an editor, in the appeal of a better sort of fiction than was being 
supplied by some publicatiom. Reading the first part of the stors', he 
wrote that he was reminded of something that Charles Dickens had said 
about the immense power for good or e%’il welded by the writer of 
stones. “The Editor . . . has long wished that Answers might not only be a 
journal of instruction and amusement . , . but that the minds of its mighty 
army of followcn might be influenced for the allegation of the sorrows 
and sufferings of thar fcllow-mcn.* 

The Hannsworih brothers sx’crc now in a position to claim that the 
combined sales of their publications svai a million copies a week. The 
trade' was sceptical- It might mean cop'icspnntcd: what about copies soldi 
An answer was forihcommg witli the effect of a sledge-hammer. Dated 
June 4. i S92, a ccruficaic, signed by E. Layton Dennett, durtcred account- 
ant, of Cornhil), London, E.C., confirmed that the we/ sales of the Harms- 
wortli publicatiotu exceeded a million copies a week. The exaa figure v-is 
1.009.067 copies weekly. For some time past the circulation figure for 

»J7 



NORTHCUFFE 


Answers had been regularly given in that paper. The net sales certificate for 
all the company’s papen (ed into a campaign with far-reaching effects on 
the newspaper and periodical publishing trade of the country. ‘Net sales 
was to become a generally adopted, but also fiercely disputed, practice of 
the new century. Aware that ^ scope for misrepresentation was being 
widely exploited, Alfred Harmswotth warned advertisen against 'sham 
circulations’ and urged them to probe ‘the real sale of many journals 
claiming immense circulaticais’. When they discovered the truth, he 
wrote, their eyes would be opened Very wide indeed’. In later times the 
‘net sales’ question was to loom up still more powerfully in the intensely 
competitive atmosphere of Fleet Street, where today it is considered by 
competent judges to have been a destructive campaign in its emphasis on 
quantity as against quality in periodical circulation especially. Alfred 
Harmsworth's idea of issuing a net sales certificate was a bold stroke of 
publishing poBcy which echoed down the years. 

Favourable comment on Answers, earlier that year, by Lord Randolph 
Churchill, had been followed by a friendly message from Mr Gladstone. 
A general election had taken him on a speaking tour in the north of 
England and in Scotland. At Dalmeny Park, where he was the guest of 
Lord Rosebery, he was approached by ‘Mr Answers’ for an interview. 
‘Mr Answers’ on that occasion was the young Lord Mountmorces, a fact 
which may have accounted for Mr Glacktone^ s amiable co-operation. He 
said: ‘I consider the gigantic circulation of .i 4 «su'frs an undeniable proof of 
the growth of sound public taste for healthy and instructive reading. The 
journal must have vast influence.’ Privately, Mountmorres repotted that 
the movement of Mr Gladstone’s eyebrows had held the audience spell- 
bound. Lord Randolph Churchill had said: ‘Your new Uteraturc is simple, 
but is none the less instructive and valuable for that.’ He went on: ‘Let us 
take the case of one fresh from school, who reads in your pages not only 
mtercsting things about every department of life but gathers Jso interest- 
ing facts about literature itsdf. What is he likely to do? Certainly not to 
relinquish the readmg habits he has acquired. There is no reason at all why 
he should not go on from your pages to fhe pages of the monthly maga- 
zines, from those to the quarterlies, and again from those through all the 
English classics.’ He gave it as his opinion that the Harmsworm sort of 
journalism would be far ^om evanescent, that it would become a per- 
manent feature of our time. 

Inspired by the Gladstonian blessing, Alfred reviewed his editorial 
responsibilities anew in Answers for July 23, 1892: 

Great care is taken in our office tiiat every line of information should be 
weighed and balanced by aH sorts and conditions of men before it makes its 
way throughout the world. . . . The spoken word vanishes, the printed word 

138 



(&e iriau iolu 
protestations. 

keen,” said 
ircepting the 
khinklig.U a 

-- discovered 
top-coat was 


often .wears 
tobacco. 


_«'as Orto- a! I 
if he took 


(itker, who is 
do you part 


very ill with 
fee of will." 

'^18 only fatal 


'Bfrequeatly 
insanity and 
suppose 

» I s^'‘l expects 


lusl Have 
Caneby and 


en them face 
veredwawa, 
% turn-down 


ie the other 

n. 

*■ losiouated 
the desk. 

<ou,*'be said 
'eller. 

••epeated the 
across the 
k&ob> and H 


bir cuarles Kussell, ti .lot .;asii fatigued 
speaker, on the pccasioa of his two days’ speech 
before the Parnell Commission, drank nothing 
but hot coffee, which he declared was not only 
good for the voice, hot an cKcellent stimulant. 


A WORLD’S 

RECORD. 

WHAT “ASSWEES” HAS BOM 
IS loss. TEAES. 

The foltotting cetiifiCtfie. issued by Mr. E. Lstlon 
B.:onrU. 66ani) 67, CornbUl. Loudon. RC, Fellow 
ol the Institute ^ Chartered Accountants 'proves 
uiDiool any doubt ■b.-tlever Ibal tbe Harinsn-orlh 
publications bate the Urgesl cireulatiou not only in 
(he United Kingdom but la (b« whole uorld 
In less itian (our years these publiealions have 
AKainsd a sate at Imsc three or (our hundred thou, 
sand copies weekly in advance o( any ether Journals, 
The mnotnenal rate of progress of these pnpeii 
IS pUiniy *bonn by ibeextiaordinatyasnual increase, 
Advertrsers cau obraSa ttke figures for any week on 
appUeaiion. 

'these figures represent the actual circulations for 
the secoQU week in Juoe In t63$, s89p, 1890. iSpr, 
up to the present tine : ' 

Lm (ban I 

20 , 000 . 

S889. 

46 , 600 . 

lepa 

352 , 019 . 

1801 . 

720,838. 

Frudont ttzae (189S\ 

1 , 009,067 

OOUBS WBEKLT. 

008 HiUioo Kine nioosaiid and Siitj-snen Copies. 


The sculptor Is tbe most likely of all men to 
cut a figure In the world. 


Giles: “I suppose that literary man you 
introduced me to reids a great deal I"* 

Merritt (a novelisO; “Hot at all. Ei-2." r 


many tunes l 
part Ibcir h 
mao's life isi 
stamps are ^ 
London omr 
cock crows I 
in a Loodon 
would grow 


I No, it is nr 
I you think of 
' body else, 
instances. 

A littLi 
A fters whi 
thought. L 
“ Mamma, 
Because 
" Oh, yes.' 


Charlie S 
you have sa 
hair?" 

Alice t “C 
haven't got.' 

Charl^ : 

Alice: “A 

Hsichboui 
fence) I " Z ar 
garden so ea. 
reward." 

Tommy (t 
be, but I’ve 
and haven't 


Flossie w 
brother a fig 
right hand ac 
Handing t’ 
she said, " M 


"Thank yt 
with me," w? 


•*I'VE got. 
Inventor. 

The caplt- 
calculating n 
answered, “V 
useit." 

That night 

•n-slfier -lopli 


‘The largess ckaiation in the world’ 



NORTHCUFFE 


remains. Every word of the 100,000 we print every week is carefully considered 
before it appears. For this purpose thw ate retained on my reading staff a 
clergyman, and an honours man of Triniw College, Dublin [his brother Cecil]. 
The gentleman who interviewed Mr Glamtone t&s week is an Oxford man and 
promises to be of distinction in the literary world. These are in addition to a 
number of well-informed journalists who arc instructed to be most Careful in 
their revision of what we print. 

Harold Harmsworth to Alfred Hamisworth: 

‘ANSWERS.’ 

108, Fleet Street, 
London. E.C. 

15th July, 1892. 

My dear Alfred, — Answers 375,000, Comic 420,000, Chips 212,000, Forget- 
Me-Not 83,000. Total, 1,090,000. 

Hildebrand is the essential cause of my not ninnine down today. In my 
absence he has been wearing my tennis clothes and the laundress will not have 
them ready for me unt J late tonight. 

Yours, 

HAROLD. 

Alfred Harmsworth to Frederick Wood: 


Elmwood, 

St. Peter’s, Kent. 

13.8.1892. 

My dear Fred Wood, — . . , Things move apace with us. Harold is engaged 
to a Aarming girl, Leicester « marri^, my sister has a baby, Hildebrand is just 
going up to Oxford, St. John is preparing for the Army, and Vyvyan for 
Charterhouse The Mother thrives and looks much younger than ever. 

Many thanks, my dear Fred Wood, for your congratulations on our worldly 
prosperity. Fortune is a fickle creature and luth strange whims. We are making 
just on ^50,000 a year and dcai’t want half of it. Ten years ago we should have 
thought a fiftieth part of it affluence. People call us miserly because we save all 
we make, but as I said. Fortune is a coquettish lady and may turn her back on us 
one of these days, so we arc preparing against her. These figures are private, of 
course, and arc known only to some half-dozen persons, though ‘Harmsworth, 
Limited’ may next year be floated and we shall nave then to reveal. 

Would that the dear old Governor could have seen his son’s luck. He was 
quite a behever in the family. 

Yours always affectionately, 

ALFRED C. H. 

In the issue of Answers dated September 17, 1892, there was a con- 
spicuously ‘boxed’ announcement headed ‘answers income’. It told 


140 



NORTHCUFFE 


puzzle and spent much of his time in his studv thus occupied. Young 
Pearson’s upbringing and education had includca two years at his father’s 
old sAool, Winchester. He had not gained much from his schooling. 
Concemhig it, he was in the habit of saying diat he had ‘preferred tennis 
to Tennyson and cricket to Carlyle’. Shortsighted, with a jerky manner 
which had earned him the school name of ‘Pigeon’, he became a journalist 
because the profession appealed to him more than the job in a City bank 
which his father had in view for him. He had countered the parental plan 
by winning the Tit-Bits competition in which the prize was a job in George 
Newnes’s office, at £loo a year. The competition, called ‘Inquiry 
Column', comprised a general knowledge test extending over many 
weeks; and Peanon, who was dghtcen, had shown spirit and resource 
by making weekly journeys totalhng l8o miles on an old-fashioned high 
bicycle to look up reference books in the Free Library at Bedford. There 
were 3,000 entrants in the competition and the scrutineers in London had 
to check 39,000 examination papers before declaring Pearson the winner. 
Having acquired the publisliing rudiments in Newnes’s office, he asked for 
a rise in salary. At the end of six years he was getting six pounds a week. 
When Newnes retorted that he would never be worth more than j^soo 
3 year, Pearson, with the help of another Newnes man, Peter Keary, 
drew up his own version of Tit-BiVf and Answers, put it in a pink cover, 
and called it Pearsons Weekly, with the front-page motto, ‘To Interest, 
To Elevate and To Amuse*. It was financed to the extent of /j.ooo, 
advanced by a friend of the Pearson family. The first issue carriw a free 
railway insurance policy of X*. 000 and there was a competition for clergy- 
men only, with annuities as prizes. It sold a q^rtcr of a million copies. 
One of die articles in that first issue was headed ‘Curiosities of Blindness’. 
It had been written by Pearson himself. For him eyesight was a fateful 
topic. He published his paper from Temple Chambers, E.C., where he 
started in four rooms with a staff of four persons. Keary said that unsold 
copies of the first issue filled the office, seriously hampering work there. 
Then W. T. Stead gave the paper an approving mention in the Pall Mall 
Gazette, with helpfiil effects on its circulation. As the sales rose it was 
realized that more capital would be needed, at which awkward moment 
the mvestor of the original ;{)3,ooo lost his remaining capital in an 
Argentine speculation and wanted his money back from Peanon. Sir 
Wilham Ingram’s interest was sought because he was an old Wykehamist 
as well as a successful publisher. He provided new money and afterwards 
said that he had not been attracted by the paper but by the possibUity of 
having young Pearson at hand to succeed John Latey as editor of The 
Illustrated London News. 

Like Alfred Harmsworth, Pearson wrote nearly all that appeared in the 
first issues of his paper. As a worker, he ^ve himself excessively hard. 

14a 



HISTORY OF A QUARREL 

He railed on every leading newsagent and most *‘=J|“^'^ 5 ss"cJf- 
lmg England, Scotland and Wales by tram sleepg ” 
paftmelts, Uving almost exclusively on f h' 

beuveen stations. He had always 8 ‘““Vwritb. 7 rtraim 

damaged bis eyesight by bis ““““ to ‘Misstog Words’. He 

turning point in his fortunes has bem „,Lpn He announced a 

himself said that the tide ^ HebHig Hand to those Out of 

house-to-house distribution sdicmc as A p ^ ■ ^if ^ jUin g can- 

Work’. It brought him the serviees -’f^H'^T’^f.fj^'Tulport- 

vassers and the good will of new readeKW „ ^ ‘Missing Words’ 

ing a philanthropic enterprise. f^t^tTrUerretae ftlad been 
extended the circulation of his paper and had st^^^ 


conveyed the author’s 

it occurred to me that a good form number in question to 

leaving the space blank and askmg readers of the number m q 

fill in the gap’. , . person made it a condition 

UuncKng *' ‘i^e/by a postal order for a shilling, 
foat each entry shotdd be 7 „gSg. It took six months to 

The response was only moderately en ? j.” „ then on the 

teach a mtal of 20,000 =nm« To To enttLs rose to a toul 


Jrcsciiva.^ ..v—^ 

orders. ‘The entries came in so ^arimpossibie to keep 

shortly afterwards joined Pearson $ su . t stuffed with postal 

ccntJl. Office boys were ^"i^TdC foeSfains and cfoked 
orders. Those that weie Youire Women’s Christian Assoaa- 

themup. Relays °f °^*'Xrhs®ptesumahly as an insurance 

enrrie, for one 

paper’s ‘Missing Words with that Ansii'ers was a slow 

Wc was s4tht fo TT4anon Tw^eeklytou 

startcnnthe'Missing Words racefora mijqj. jHe Harmsworths 

the mtlhon mark, m settle dovra at “ ““ T4 “he lasv. Not 
caution was Ptohahly due to then OT ra ^ 

even ’Missing Words ^ Words’ in the first place as 

tensity of public interest. They iBca b Frtrert-Afe-N’i’f. 

a wa” of Living attention to their f LVon had been 

giving It special seriously accept the 

running Missing Words for nearly a ) 




for the 'Free Break&ts Fund' for dnldrcn which Aijsivm tad been 

tpon,ormE.Ttatgood-„e.ured_CJt^nseta^^^^^^^ 


Now it was given a considerable 'Mt', and nearly a mfcn hungry 
m^tta were fed as a result. It had been Alfred Harmswotth s msp.ranon 
to link the Fund with Atuims. He was more sensitive to its »PP“ *“ 
perhaps its founders knew. As a mark of good faith, he enmged a clerg} 
Lan the Rev. C. W. Sparkes. to supervise the opening of the compMition 
entries the value of which rose to £3.000 a week. Before long, Harold 
was sending Alfred a memorandum; 'The mixture of parson and business 


man is not a success. 

The Harmsworths’ reluctance to exploit ‘Missing Words was not un- 
\visc. As the interest grew to be nation-wide, the moral issue was raised in 
ever louder tones. Churches and other bodies and groups declaimed their 
^s Biaoted persons were noisy wnth prophecies of national dcgcn«a- 
— *1 1 1 • c .a. dmv. The 


views. JPIgOCCU IIWW; ...... ^ . 

tion. Would-be public informers rose up to do their dubious duty, ttif 
Daily News attacked Ansmrs m a leading article, to which the Fimicid 
News repUed wiA a charge of hypocrisy: ‘It is pleasant to know that, 
although evecy encouragement which “latest intelligence” can pMSibly 
give to gambling in cotton futures, or time bargains on the Stock EX“ 
change, or bemng on the Turf will still be forthcoming, the abandoned 
people who get up “missing word” competitions will be hounded to their 
just doom ... put in the pillory, to be pelted with pious platitudes oi 
Pharisaical censure.’ The editor of Atistms rejoined in lighter vein. 
considered the Daily Netw article to be an cxamplcof 'brilliant joumalisin , 
and hoped that the anonymous writer of it would communicate wth him. 
‘We should hke to call his attention to the fact that we pay one guinea a 
column (700 words). Wc should be glad to have something from hu 
pen.’ Argument on die le^ side was mainly pedantic and involved much 
paring away of shades ofmeaning. Little ^va$ said about the likely if im* 
perceptible advantages of seducing the attention of younger readers m 
particular from the betting sheets and such ‘penny dreadfuls’ as remained. 
On that score ‘missing words’ may have had a credit side. 

Proceedings were taken against Picfc-Afe-Up, one of the smaller weeklies 
which had been running ‘Missing Words’. It was as if the entry o{Ansii'e^^ 
into the general scramble for prestige and profit to be gained from the 
competition had once again srirted the official conscience. With otlier 
papers, .dnsii'ers was served widi a summons. At Bow Street magistrate s 
court. Sir John Bridge ruled diat ‘Missing Words’ constituted a lottery 
and was therefore iflegal. His decision was followed by the Treasury 
demand that all those papers concerned in the competition should return 



HISTORY OF A QUARREL 
the money sent in by competitors dori^ the 

j(24,ooo was impounded, pending a ruling “t t c ^ 

mling was given in February 1893. It upheld the ‘!“.s.o" m the other 
court® The Lial impact of 'the ver&t n sorted m “ 

Arnold Bennett’s wSl-known novel. 77 , e» nctrouS 

maintains ‘that it is inconceivable that any Eng ts co J 

ever interfere withapa!timestmmoc.mtW^^ 

fnrtet%“m“ndTofr“eS.i^^^^^^^^^ 

ment mentioned that at the height of the boom cop 
in demand at ar. 6 l each. That climax of the ^”“8 
Alfred Harmsworth the cue for his a literary dining 

guest of Herbert Ward at ‘Ye Sette “f lu^s ready 

elub. Unexpeetedly called to hrs feet, he s^'d- W“le am y ^ 

mth my “^twcts” every before and most of 

them tomght. I have never made a speecn i y 
my words are missing.’ . , . T-nuarv 4. 1803. ‘He 

‘Saw Pearson,; Alfred "’"’“ "f^ JIriOTlitwec^the two firms.' 
seemed very anxious for some tf'!®,! „ called today. No hint of 
Oa January '3 Harold wrerte to Alfred. P J believe 

pecuniary embarrassment. While Aurc . , , publisher— 

that ‘Missing Words’ had been circulations— 

advertisers had not responded to the ^ pink-covered weekly 

the competition had ensured Ptf™" ' coveted Ti^Bits and the orange- 
now held us place alongside the green ® , bMounter position on the 
toveted An., ms in the important of „iKvay 

boobtalh, a famthat trio ot the lower middlo<lass scene, 
travel, through thirty years. 

* 

‘The father’s vision of the Bmch ^d fact l^t his son's 

filled. There is, perhaps, a gram of Chancellor’s salary 

Venture earns enough money not only P T Quotation is from a trade 
but that of ten judges into the bargam. * „\cutudc the Harmsworth 
journal which in 1893 surveyed wth , f statement that 

achievements up to that time. It was resp Harold Harms- 

desiiws had shown no sign business side. ‘He then found 

ivorth was brought in to take clurgc o soon put it on a sound and 

the firm m a senn-bankrupt condmon . . • j comment as ‘very 

ptying bans.’ Wmmg to Alfred. Hat^d sj ,„a,bcmatire. There 

t'lly and one which I can understand cause > The implica- 

Mc manv obvious mistakes but th« one is nonsense- 


145 



NORTIICtXFFE 

don of ‘semi-bankrupt’ was hardly justified, since the possibility existed 
of Beaumont being prepared to come to the rescue; moreover, there were 
signs of improvement at the time of Harold’s arrival on the staff. Loyal 
and modest though it was of Harold to disclaim the credir, his part in the 
business at that stage was probably decisive and indispensable. He had his 
brother’s full conn^dencc. In the later years Sutton would stand in that 
relationship. For the presenr, it was uiiaeniably Harold’s restraining hand 
that was steering the company firmly on its course. His outstanding service 
consisted of eliminating waste and getting things done more cheaply than 
before. No detail was too trivial for lus scrutiny. The price paid for paper, 
the costliest item in their outgoings, was thought to be less than that paid 
by any comparable concern. George Ncwncs Limited, a business of similar 
character and size, did not show neatly the same rate of profit to turnover. 

Harold Harmswortli’s reallsin balanced Alfred’s buoyancy. Harold svas 
a human gyroscope, steadying tlic momentum of the business. He saw 
that the clue to tneir success was in buying raw material at the lowest 
possible price and selling it at a profit in processed form. His financial 
Keenness was capable oAxasperadng Alfred. The profits fot 1893 were 
over ^30,000. Studying one week’s accounts for Amu'crs, then approach- 
ing the 40O1OO0 circulation level, Harold complained that the cost of over- 
set matter was thirty shillings: ’Will you caution the Literary Depart- 
ment?’ Alfred had arranged tltat memwts of the staff should be paid the 
paper's ordinary rate fot any articles or stories contributed by them in their 
spate time. Harold demanded that they should work at halt-rates. 'I tliink 
that by revision of these payments a sum of j()20 a week might be saved.’ 

It was by such sharp-eyed economics, such unremitting concern for the 
safety of the business, that Harold was able to write to Alfred on Septem- 
ber I, iSgj : 'I have banked for you today ^^10,466 13s. 41/. There svill be 
a little more to bank in a day or two.’ Alfred had never had so much 
money. Summing up in 1892 the results of their four years in business 
together, Alfred had written in a prominently displayed atticle in Answers: 
‘During 1889 my brother, Mr Harold Sidney Harmsworth, left the Civil 
Service to join Answers, of whidi he has since become business manager. 
Though his work is not of the showy ruturc which meets the public eye, 
his firundal abditiw and sound business judgment have helped Anmvrs 
to obtain much greater finandal prosperity than it would otherwise have 
reached.’ 

Alfred, then, was the journalistic genius, Harold the man of bvisiness; in 
their drcumstanccs, an unassailable combination. On the surface they fitted 
neatly together in a partnership of intuitiveness with practical common 
sense. Alfred was a creator, Harold an organizer. Their temperaments 
were displayed in their conspicuoudy different handwriting, Alfred’s 
oblique, restless and imperative. Harold's clear, neat and clerk-like. 

146 



HISTORY OF A QUARREL 

Below, there were materials of conflirt the unconscious J" 

sdnets of the one and the nervous fears of die other. A re 

with ideas that were to emblazon the Harmsworth name across Ae sky 

Harold was incapable of any such excitements. He chd not 

view of the importance and permanen^ of the bn o pu r ^ i- 

were engaged in. He considered It essentially an ephemera or 

and beheved that they were wise to grab-bs favourite wo^ m that 
context — as much money as possible as quickly as possi c. , , 

of the balance sheet, he bought well of cash in hand In his 
comfortably frank attitude Alfred saw critiasm o t c q • ^ of 
publications which he alone had evolved. Harold s usua 
them as ‘rags’ quite likely irritated him; at any rate, . eicester 

fcrences of opinion and pohey between them. Their ro , , . 

Harmsworth. wrote later that ‘the great divergence, not to »y cl«vag 
between the two cider brothers had begun to revc i sc » 

.89a to :893. In 189^. for example. Harold stood 
the matter of purchasing Black & While, an ^ merged 

unsatisfactory balance sheet which subsequently 1^ nrhef ororosal 

in The SpheVe. He intervened successfully in more than one other proposal 
to acquire papers with a doubtful bture. , 

The future Rothermere's part in the H«msworth rise h« ^ 
disputed. That of the younger brothen who notice, 

early achievements of Alfred and Harold has • w jg^j; Tn 

and a loyal and enthusiastic band of workers. and later, 

their dist brother as the dominating editorial flair 

He It was whose ideas meant most to me . ' jnspiretl. In the 

was Its greatest asset, whose the rX of Harold 

Fleet Street prcancts, the younger broAen ca strictly to office 

« manager "of the firm. H\requircd ‘bem to confr^^^ - 

regulations as other memben to Cecil and Leicester that 

.Sthjanuars-, 1892.-W1II you send that letter to C-^i an 

1 su8^es.cd?Thc pornr, arc’ T--' »f milcss on 

Hour for lunch. 3. Must not leave the office belorc 0 p. 

business.’ 


Quickening their pace, the 1 lanrnvrottliJ caperim 

147 


icntcd with an all-fiction 



NORTHCUIPE 


Answers Supplement, soM separately from the parent paper, and when it 
failed after a few months’ run they called it Home Sweet Home, sought by 
means of it to popularize Bible reading, and showed that in publishing 
nerve is as vital as capital and ideas. The paper provided the early editorial 
training of a man who svas to become influential as a pioneer of tlie half- 
tone block printing which brought in the era of tlic picture paper. His 
name was Arkas Sapt, an unpredictable Fleet Street personality who left 
his mark on newspaper history widiout gaming for himself the security 
or the recognition hts talents deserved. Harold Harmssvorth complained 
about Sapt: ‘His notions are eccentric.’ Alfred, whose nominee Sapt was, 
declined to be moved by the critiasm. He kept Sapt on the staff, with 
consequences that were important in later and more spectacular develop- 
ments of the business. 

The combined sales of the firm’s publications had increased by forty 
per cent in a year, standing at the total of 1,473,000 in June 1S93. It was a 
circulation Niagara, with a swellmg flood of receipts. Exactly tavclve 
months earlier an announcement on page one of Answers had denied 
rumours that the proprietors were planning a public flotation. ‘The state- 
ments have no foundation whatever.’ In fact, Harold bad several times 
urged his brother to assent to a public flotation. He raised the matter again 
in a letter written during his honeymoon in Scotland, he having married 
Lilian Share, the eighteen-year-old daughter of George Wade Share, 
a City hardware merchant, of Forest Holme, Queen’s Road, Forest Hill. 
Romance had to make way for the reflection that 'there is an almost un- 
limited supply of money waiting for suitable investment. There are several 
reasons why we should not hesiute.’ One of them, perhaps, was the 
successful flotation of George Newncs Limited. Concenung that event, 
Harold had written to Alfrw: ‘The actual price he [Newncs] will receive 
for his business I figure out at between j^ 6 oo,< 3 oo and ^700,000.’ 

There were several reasons, too, for caution. The Liberator frauds of 
that year, bringing into prominence the name of Jabez Balfour, had 
caused investors to be my even of Government securities. Industry, 
especially m the North, was disturbed by strikes and there were hungry 
mouths in Lancashire. London business houses were involved in a series 
of Australian bank crashes. The general mood of uncertainty dipped into 
depression at the news of the ramming of the Mediterranean flagship 
Victoria, with a calamitous loss of life. The Harmsworths were advised to 
postpone their flotation. For once, Harold ivas impervious to pessimism. 
Alfred wrote in his diary for May 2, 1893: 'Harold and I discussed whether 
or not we should form a limited company of our business, with a view 
to paying off the mortgage and paying for out new printing machinery.’ 

In June 1893, Answers Limitri (eWged two years later to Answers 
Publications Limited) was formed. In a passing reference to the paper’s 

148 



HISTORY OF A. QUARREL 

brief successful history ind glowing future, m fotuider drew “ 

the &ct that 'of all the hundreds of papeis that have 

issued Ans«,ers m 1888, only one of a si^r kind £. 

on in a bankrupt or semi-bankrupt condition, but the maj ty 

appeared long Igo/ The capital required to take over the copynsht and 

goodwill of Answers was put at ^275.000, of which 125, J ^ rr ^ 

preference shares of each and 50.000 o«hnary ^£1 

to the public. The first directors were Alfred and Harold 

who undertook to receive no salaries or commwsions un t pjpR. 

£40.000 had been reached in a year, Dargaville Carr, and ^ohert L 

ton, husband and writing partner of Mane Connor g • 

ttlegrsphed juhilsntly to Us Dublin rclutivcst rUstcas 

ptospcctus wrs cast tu the tone of patroumug tdeahsm 

in time. ‘From this day forth Answers and retail 

Company.' The shares were offered in part, enht 

nesvsagents. stationers, booksellers, and Aeir iann ics a pjoctess 

were invited to invest in a business , p p, ^vas^not 

probably unexampled in the history of the pen about the 

less sound business strategy because it unUced cynic , , . 

expectation that newsagents who bought the shares would give pre- 

fercntial display to the Harmsworth pubhonons. 

Nesv offiL were opened at 24 Tudor Sf ‘ 
we have been obliged to leave hisir^c Flee . )., 5 ghway of 
readers. ‘Fleet Street has for cemunes keen regarded k g f 

Irtters" in London, but at present it is ^ “P - j;,,, 

newspaper world has overflowed into . . -,f ^„a,(.ers presents 

, ncigbbouthood.' He added; 'The |,aard terrible tales of the 

a very cbccrfitl appearance and those “I" not a little 

dens in which London editors perfoTO th . • o(AnsnW offices. 

astonished at the brightness and comfort of t c IjWJ as being 

Tudor Street.’ Tlie editor’s room was dons of Rossetti and 

prettily decorated and hung with deep staircase, with the 

Bume Jones’. It was reached by an " ‘L it ^Scs it easier for 

door of the editor’s room opcniiy Henry Leach, the golf 

me to kick people down.; AlfrccTsaii A 

ssTitcr. thought the editor s room somb . ^ ^ jjj pjnj and needles. 

Sutton had his desk. Leach said that Sutton .o«ng head 

mstant ,n the scrs-icc of the restless congrltuUnons. a 

-fdie concern’. Sutton had iust inamed. Seeing fom cong 
mend named Manninq, who becarnc a • r and had 

»f yen ,o my wife. 1 srid tl». iH the key. 

toco on a long journey, 1 w’ould not h«i r<“itTM ’ Sutron s’llucil the 

What „ ,nor?. I svould not count the sovereigns, but 

149 



NORTHCIUTE 


tribute. He kept the letter all his days. His loyalty matched his honesty. 
He spent his summer holidays of diosc years near Broadstairs, so that he 
might be at hand if ‘Mr Alfred’ needed him. 

The moustache crop at 24 Tudor Street was lush: the young men of the 
period chose to look older and, as they drought, wiser than their years. 
‘Mr Harold’ and ‘Mr Cecil’ led die movement. ‘Mr Alfred’ remained out- 
side it, his classical features leguiriog no embellishment. They were re- 
marked on in The World at that time: ‘A firm, powerful face, despite its 
youthful character, abundant masses of light brown hair shading a broad 
trow, with a strong, square lower jaw.’ Lwh said that he ‘spoke rapidly, 
in short and somewhat jerky sentences, with a manner of decision , and 
his wide-set eyes had ‘a peciiliar attraction’. He was surrounded by men 
of his generation; the emphasis was decidedly on youth. Young, Small, 
Sutton, Sumpter, Linforth, Haydon, Garrish, Whitefbord, Bimage, 
Anderson, were all in their twenties and all grew up with the business to 
become its managers, editors and directors. The women were young and 
zestful too; for them it was an adventure to be out in the world, apart 
from the excitements of working with the all-conqucring Harmsworths. 
Jean Skinner, Maud Bown, Ethel Maycock, Rose Logan, Lily Dibbcn, 
look out of the pig«s of an early pamphlet about the business with eyes 
that appear to be fixed on a resplendent sur. Habitually, proudly, the^ 
spoke and rvrotc not simply of Amtvers but of ‘Mr Alfred Harmsworth s 
Answers*. To them he was ‘Alfred the Great’. 

Women office workers then were a London novelty and social con- 
vention did no: allow them to lunch out at restaurants patronized mainly 
by men. The Answers young ladies had theit lunch in the office, behind a 
screen. One of them, the fotmcc Miss Ethel Maycock (Mrs Sumpter), 
remembered that during an Aruitrers competition ‘a Harmsworth younger 
brother' picked up a sack full of competition entries from readers and 
emptied It over the head of Whitcfooid, Harold Harmsworth’s secretary. 
The elder Harmsworths were angry because it was press day and office 
routme was upset. They made their younger brother go down on hands 
and knees and sort out several thousand scattered letters because some 
editorial correspondence had been lost among them. As a result, the staff 
was kept behind until ten o’clock that night. All the competition corre- 
spondence was tbercaftcr dealt with at anodier address. 

A subsidury comoany svas formed in iSpj primarily to take over the 
firm s printing work. Alfred and Harold were in instant accord about 
naming it The Geraldine Press, after didr mother. It enabled them to 
expand their already huge weekly periodical circulations. New boys’ 
papers had been bunched; The IVonJer (1892), The Mart'el (1893). They 
were quickly followed by Union Jack, reviving a title with which G. A. 
Hcnt>‘ had unsuccessfully tried his ludc. some time before, and Boys' Friend. 


150 



HISTORY OF A QUARREL 

In the pages of The Mareel 'Sexton Blake^ Detecuve', °l 

fifty years as the office-boys' Sherlock Holmes, °s W 

pnMih 'only pure, healthy stories'. Both M,® 

more nafi in the coffin of the penny dreadfuf Cr^admgjnth its stable 

companions against ‘unhealthy literamce , The arve of 

sensationaUsm of the more scurrilous juvemlcs , but the ^ ^ 

the Harmsworths’ attack was delivered in the Boys 

the writers who contributed to die b^er sorts ° v 

wretches’ and condemned them not only for Ac nublic-houses 

but for the surroundings in which they did it^ eg V P i| 

and the kitchens of common •‘^^S-h^uscs. ^erc q y 

criticism of a practice which Alfred Harmsworth ^ad bms If bem a 

to as editor of Yotith, under Wdliam Ingram of 

News, that of buying up old blocks i ]-» \ strong dis- 

storics written round them. The Boys Fn^dpto ^ a feature 

taste for the short patapaphs, 'of at most five es ^ „„g„ph had 

ZZers broke new fiction ground by publistog 
to have war as a theme, a teflecnon of the ^ j presently divide the 

nationalism and of the armament tivalncs th P xlie 

world. The paper isavowed ™“o .3 WUliam le 

ftiW B„lf«,"had been planned i^rrdifiL of a larger 

Queint, Its author, to promote Rmiia and the 

Navy’. A treaty had been „„c new force to spccula- 

visit of the Russian Fleet to Toldon m t„ak out. The 

tions about when, rather than where, a the belligerents those 

PelsaneJ Bullet assumed that n , ,l,c^Icrial had been running 

two countries against Great Driiam. , . , brother: ‘The instal- 

threc weeks. Harold Harmsworth .^^uld cut down to a minimum 

ments do not conum enough war seen . flatties naval and land. So 

the hero and heroine’s part and give p CTty » execution done is 

fir. three long instalments liavc Vc^r soon there came 

the bombardment of Neivhavcn and ®”8 • Massaac of 

instalments headed ‘Tlic Battle of ^nd Manchester to face 

Eastbourne*. Later, it was the turn <>f carnage was 

the foe. ‘The provinces were awo^tneken. E^ cryivhcrc. 

'"Souncing die scrisl, MfiedW quoted from^ 

Tim« of November i6. 18931 vitallv affects every dozen 

unquestionable sufficiency is a quesnon w u There would be no 

of this country, and most of all lO poorest aniens, ine 


15* 



KORTIICLlfFE 


question of “a living wage*’ if we once lost command of the sea.’ In the 
issues of Answers containing the early instalments of the serial, he ‘boxed 
in’ quotations from speeches or statements made by leading naval authori- 
ties, among them several retired admirals. They stressed tlic dangers which 
The Poisoned Bidlet was draniadzing widi such lurid success. 

The propaganda reflected the earlier symptoms of a more potent 
general feat and no doubt helped to exacerbate it, a circumstance which 
incurred the censure of later historians who saw in it the makings of an 
enmity which %vas to erupt in the great wars to come. The Pan-German 
League had been founded four years before, in 1890, the year of Bis- 
marck’s dismissal. There were leading Germans who made no secret of 
desiring an end to tlic political appeasement of Great Britain. Long before 
that, in 1870, the Positivist philosopher, Frederick Harrison, had asked: 
’Why arc we to take the future freedom and peacefulness of Germany on 
trust} Prussian rule has always been defiant of public opinion.’ Earlier 
still, in tlie 18305, Bulwer Lytton wrote in his Pilgrims of the Rhine'. ’The 
ideal is passing slowly away from the German mind. The memories that 
led their gtandsircs to contemplate, will urge the youth of the next 
generation to dare and to act.’ In maJdng his paper one of the mouthpieces 
of a growing sense of uneasiness, young Alfred Harmsworth was again 
foUowmg a trend rather than iniriating it, and it would have been un- 
realistic to expect to find liim, at his age, demonstrating the %visdom and 
restraint of older men. He showed at least common seme in taking the 
opportunity to rebuke, in print, those who ’possess a ridiculous arrogance 
by which we arc led to underrate our opponents'. 

Lord Roberts to Alfred Harmsworth: 

Grove Park, 

Kingsbury, 

Middlesex. 

March 26, 1894. 

Dear Sir , — 1 entirely concur svith you in thinking it most desirable to bring 
home to the British public in every possible way the dangers to wliich the 
nation is eiqiosed unless it maintains a Navy and Army sufSciendy strong and 
well organised to meet the defensive lequitcmcnts of the Empire. 

Believe me. 

Yours faithfully, 

ROBERTS. 


For Alfred Harmsworth tliis was a period of fluctuating health. There was 
much resorting to bed, ‘feeling not at all well’, ’suffering from overwork’, 
vide the diary. There were many attacks of fainmess, unaccounted for. 


152 



HISTORY OF A QUARREL 

There were recurring headaches, frequently noted. Harold was concerned 
about him. He wrote to Alfred; T hope you are taking care of yotirself. 
I should lay by for a few days, if I were you, and let the business go hang.’ 
He was medically advised to take a course of treatment Tasting six or 
eight weeks and to go abroad for at least three months’. Taking a pre- 
caution uncongenial to most men of his years, he made his will. Before 
doing so, he consulted a solidtor about what might happen if he did not 
make a will. From his youth up it was observed that he often looked tired, 
while showing no physical awareness of it A hidden factor of malaise 
seemed to be a constant of his life. The family assumption was that his 
health had been undermined by the strenuous cycling feats. Later medical 
consideration of one of his hedth crises of those years has suggested that 
the diagnosis should have been rheumatic fever, svith its sometimes baleful 
after-effects. A more than ordinary severe attack of influenza had laid him 
low not long after he had started Anmers. It left liim with a deep-seated 
nervous concern not to risk that form of infection again. Tt is nothing to 
laugh about’, he said severely to a member of the staff who suggested a 
prize for the best influenza joke. 

He was now much at Elmwood, going to bed early, rising late. ’No 
sense in getting up until the day has been well aired’, he would say. Day- 
time callers would find him lying on a sofa, his head resting amid heaped 
pillosvs, the floor around strewn with newspapers and magazines and 
proofs and sheets of his scribbled notes. The implication that he was 
resting was solemnly respected by those closest to liim. Visitors were not 
always so ready to understand. Some saw in it a gesture of self-importance 
in a young man. But the reclining habit, to which he became more 
addicted as time went by, appears to have expressed his sense of a need to 
guard his strength. His accountant, Layton Bennett, whom he had first 
met at the Priory Lawn Tennis Club at West Hampstead, remembered 
that at the Pandora Road house, when they had been dining, Alfred rose 
from the table and flung himself at full length on a sofa. ‘Excuse this,’ he 
said. ‘I always have to rest after my evening meal.’ Later, he said that hU 
after-meal rests were made necessary by ‘flushings of blood to the head’. 
He sometimes gave the same excuse for hb irritable outbursts. From the 
sofas of villadom, he graduated to luxuriously deep armchairs, which 
were as familiar a part of the furnishing of hb offices as of his homes. ‘The 
Harmssvorrbs are squarfers’, ihar nsodicx used to say. Alfred’s reserves of 
good health were never brimming over, and often he appeared to mistrust 
them. He had hypochondriacal moods, possibly associated with the low 
blood pressure which was part of hb medical history. He experimented 
with various self-treatments involving fluting, dieting and similar dis- 
ciplines. When he had been in occupation of Elmwood for some montlis, 
a friend commended to him the virtues of sea water for the morning bath. 





NORTHCUFFE 

Orders were given to the gardeners to £ctch, every day, a supply of fresh 
sea water from the North Fordand shore, five hundred yards across the 
fields. The bracing effect had been Jess than was forecast. It was found that 
the gardoicrs had become tired of sea-water hauling. They substituted 
well water and soaked seaweed in it. 

Alfred’s spells of senu-invalidisra sent him in search of the restorative 
pleasures of fishing in lake and stream, a hobby of his boyhood. His diary 
of the early years at Elmwood m«itions many fishing excursions, always 
in fresh water, always wth zest, except for an inhibition about eating 
what he had caught. In Aiistpers he printed a letter, suspiciously provoca- 
tive, condemning fishing as a cruel sport. He had a share, with Comyns 
Carr, the barrister and dramatic critic, and Haddon Chambers, the play- 
wright, in 'an ugly little pillbox ofa cottage’ by the railway line alongside 
Piscator’s rivet Lea, which was in fact hardly more than a stream. Mn 
Comyns Carr thought him ‘quiet and extraordinarily modest’, though 
success was already well within his grasp. She heard liim say to her 
husband about the growth of Aitstms: ‘Yes, I seem to have a nose for the 
thine. I don’t know where it comes from.’ He had a schoolboy relish for a 
bobbing float and liked to shosv by apt quotation that he was well 
acquainted with The Complect Angler, which appears in the dcsim for his 
bookplate. Landing his first salmon, a twenty-pounder from the Tay at 
Cargdl, Perthshire, in 1896. he was moved by excitement to fall on his 
knees and kiss it. Tender-minded as he was about eating the fish he caught, 
there was in his nature a contradictory vein ofjuvenile cruelty. It was said 
that in his bathroom at Elmwood he had for a brief period an aquarium 
with two compartments, in one side of whiidi were goldfish, in the other 
a young pike, and that when the mood was on him he would raise the 
glass paruoon and watch the ensuing panic. 

When work became more pressing and he had less time for travelling 
to distant waters, he caused a poo! to be made in the garden at Elmwood 
and stocked with fish. Its sporting scope was extremely limited and a 
visitor was amused to see on the adjoining grass an apparatus of rods, lines, 
reels, landing nets, folding chairs and sandtvich tins, as if for an elaborate 
expedition. Every time Alfred took a fish from the pool he threw it back. 
The same visitor wrote: *Rsh hooks haunt diis house. You are afraid of 
finding them in your bed.’ "What was not realized even by some of those 
nearest him was that the fish pool was also an insurance against fire, of 
which he had an abnormal dread. His interest in fishing gave him a 
hking for anglers whose prowess was greater than his own, subject to their 
being congenial in less specialized tvays. He valued the company of men 
hke R. B. Manton, editor of theFishw^ Gazette, G. A. B. Dewar, author 
of various books on outdoor pursuits and an accomplished dry-fly fisher- 
man, and C. H. Cook, who wrote as ‘John Bickerdyke’, an authority on 


*54 



HISTORY OF A QUARREL 

both deep sea and fresh water fishing, Anotljer of his more comrant com- 
panions of die rod in later yean ^^'as a compositor friend, G. H. Messer, 
who helped him to improve his private fishing stream in Hampshire, 

Among the visiton to Elmwood at tlut time was Markwick, the barris- 
ter, who iiad so unluckily for himself and his family severed his business 
connection wnlh the Hatmsworths. Alfred wrote in the diar>', July 12, 
1893: ‘Had interview with Markwick at which we made up our dif- 
ferences.’ A few days after that he went to Markwick’s house at Norsvood; 
and they also dined together at the Savoy Hotel in London. On Septem- 
ber 22 both Alfred and Mary Harmsworth were Markwick’s guests at 
Norsvood and a little later in the year Markwick was one of tlic guests 
at a dinner party given at the Savoy by the Harmsworths. There is no 
reason to doubt this evidence ofharmony restored, while there is reason 
to print it because ofa bclicfin the Markwick family circle that Markwick 
had been wrongfully deprived ofbis interest in the Harmsworth business. 
Subsequent correspondence between Alfred Harmsworth and Markwick, 
when they renewed their old friendship after a Jong later lapse, provides 
no support for any sueh conclusion. Hoping no doubt to resume touch 
with journalistic forrune, Edward Markwick later started one or two 
journals of his o%vn. One of hb ventures was The Nei^’spaper Rei>ieii>, 
which had a short life. Alfred invited him to write for Ansims and he was 
its regular contributor on legal matten for nearly twenty years. 

At the end of that year, 1893. Alfred wrote in the diary: This has been 
a good year for us in many ways. The circulation of out papers has not 
increased much, though we cstaolbhcd a new one which promises to be a 
success, makmg seven in all, and we have practically completed our print- 
ing works. My investments have also considerably increased. I have settled 
Elmwood and ,^21,000 on my wife, /^ji.ooo on my mother and luve, 
in addition to the settlement, invested in the printing works and other 
securities something like ,^18,000.* He omitted to note that earlier in the 
year he had been attracted to cycling journalism again. He had put money 
into 3 new paper in which R. }- McCredy. well known as an Irish racing 
cydist, and Charles Sisley, former editor of Cycling and of The Rambler, 
were associated editorially. Sblcy had started a paper, Up-To-Date, which 
has a place m journalistic Wstory as the first halfpenny illustrated paper. 
Doomed to fail, it may not have been without its significance for Alfred 
Harmsworth, with his keenly acqihsirivc instinct for new publishing 
possibilities. 

A contributor who was much at Elmwood that year noted in him the 
symptoms of an occupational disability of periodical publishers and 
editors. ‘He was usually ignorant of the day of the week and often, it 
seemed, quite uncertain which wede of the month it was-’ As editor of 
AnsweTS, ‘which appears on Tuesday with the following Saturday’s 



NonnicuHE 


on it’, the paper having gone to press three weeks in advance, he himself 
complained ofthcmuddh^ngcirectofdwtpuhlishingneccssity'. Probablyit 
accounted for his habit of svriling undatw letters. 

One of his later associates, H. W. Wilson, who was often at Elmwood, 
had no doubt that those early years there were the happiest of Alfred's life. 
‘He had not ovenvorked himscIC as he did later. He had die resilience of 
triumphant youtli. He did not torment himself widi care. It rcallv seemed 
as if he had a magical power to command success. Evcrydnng about him 
prospered and he was touchingly eager to make others successful wth 
hini.^ He cherished Elmwood for more than pride of possession, as the 
first visible mark of his great good fortune. It gave him a restorative peace 
which he would nc\’cr hnd anywhere else. His diary* references to it show 
an attachment that grew with the years, though the house was incurably 
damp in winter — the piano needed tuning every spring. Late in his life, 
Ills thoughts went constantly back to tlic garden jn wliich he spent so 
many happv days. He liked to recall breakfast in summer under die 
copper beech on the lawn, the uble hc«cd with peaches from die grccn- 
liouscs and the fine fresh air coming off the sea. 

He was uking fencing lessons and learning to play die mandolin, a 
romantic period craze. He was going again to Sylvan Club meetings. He 
was giving sittings to Seymour Lucas, R.A., who had painted his ladier. 
‘My portrait much cridcized’, he wotc on private view day at the Royal 
Academy of 1894. The anist had perhaps made him look too prou^y sure 
ofhis destiny. 


156 



chapter Seven 


The Siege of Portsmouth 


would be very great. _ rtnoosirion to The Strand Magazine (1891- 
for co-operauon ^P^Taining penonal prestige as well as pro- 

1930), from enthusiasm fotWs latest idea, to be called 77 ic 

fessional succ«”- ■^. ^ '...en.potarily diverted by another venture which 
Harmsmrth ^ J,et day’s fishing at Bricket Wood, 

had suggested . , , . mind— T/ie Sunday Companion. He 

Watford. A “ ' ofjoumal for Sunday reading, 

saw insundy wha 1 g ^ny of the denominations, but 

a paper the Cliristian faith in general and, wifo that proviso, 

which would promote the h t^^ himself,' said its fust 

be aU thmgs “ ^ ^h’s religious sincerity was as casual and as con- 

editor. „ voung men. He had retained a genuine if im- 

ventional as that of m y ? - ^ die imprint of his upbringing, 

defined respect for rc m ,^P described perhaps not as 

His hiothct Leicester ^ member of the Church of England', 

devout ot devoted, church at St. Peters, For many years he 

He often went to the diere with his mother. In 193 1 lyick- 

attended the Easter jh.E„d Re.ifiv article that Alfred Harms- 

ham Steed Jfa die Salvation Army. Commissi 

worth, as a youth had e^^ d in St. John Enrine's 

T. H. °f;r/„orrh.ving heard him say to Booth; 'You 

biography “f general B m 

know. Iwas 0 "“ “I J Inquiries at Salvation Army hadquincrs in 
f W nroteed no c^miation of what may have been the result 
rffpassfo 3 SSent mood. Alfred admired foe wotk of foe SalvaUon 


157 



NORTHClIFFE 

Army. He was for many years a subscriber to its fiin^. When cas^l 
labour was wanted for his businesses his standing order was that me 
Salvation Army should always be given the first chance of supplying 

While he was unhkely to have shown much intellectual curiosity in 
the currently spreading waves of agnostic doubt, or to have been specially 
sensitive to the distresses which they caused in many hearK, he may have 
seen in The Sunday Companion an insurance policy against the danng 
combativencss of the new scientific spirit. Such a paper womd gloss his 
enterprises generally with a moral respectability which might be a busm«s 
asset, an endorsement of his ‘dean journalism’ policy. It woidd impart me 
touch of popular appeal to a branch of publishing which, with but one or 
two exceptions, had long been wanting in editorial novelty and frwlmess. 
The first issue of The Sunday Companion was dated July 1894. On its front 
page it bore a message; T wish your new unscctarian paper every success.— 
Samuel Smiles.’ That celebrated professional moralist was interviewed 
inside the paper, which chiefly reported his interest in mechanics’ institutes. 
There vras the inevitable article headed ‘At Church with die Queen . U 
was decorated by skinmy little line drawings showing Her Majesty seated 
in lonely eminence in front of a congregation. Much of the material nught 
have come from Answers', some of the paragraphs, under ‘Wi$e& ' 
from Comic Cuts. Tumina to the last page, readers were confronted by a 
full-page black-letter advertisement for Bcccham’s Pills — ‘Worth A 
Guinea A Box'. 

By the Harmsworth sundards, The Sunday Companion was not ^ 
immediate success. For some time it showed no sign of making a profit. 
Harold Harmsworth urged his brother to stop publication — 'knife it , was 
his advice. From the beginiung there was sectarian criticism. The Rc^^ 
Michael Baxter, more usually known as ‘Prophet Baxter’, who had gained 
a large arculation with his Christian Herald by periodically predicting the 
end of me world, foretold impending doom for The Sunday Companion: 
‘It won’t last SIX months.’ When that forecast was falsified, there were 
imitators to be fought off. Arthur Pearson, o^Pearson's Weehly, came out 
with the Sunday Reader. Roberston Nicoll, whose British Weekly dealt 
with world politics as well as religion, started The Christian Budget. A firrn 
which published a comic paper called 5 feetriiy Bits launched Illustrated 
Christian News. 

Before long, Harmsworth’s paper remained alone in me arena with 
Baxter’s Christian Herald and Horner’sPenny Stories, a fortnightly publica- 
tion with a religious tone. For The Sunday Companion he engaged as 
editor, Hartley Aspden, a Newnes man who had been a Manchester 
Guardian reporter. Aspden’s early jouimlism had taken him to denomina- 
tional gatherings, the congresses of die Established Church, the meetings 
158 



NOBTBCtlFFE 

Army. He was for many years a subscriber to its fun^. When casi^ 
labour was wanted for his businesses his standing order w^ that 
Salvation Army should always be given the first chance of supplying 

While he was unlikely to have shown much intellectual curiosity in 
the airrcnily spreading waves of agnostic doubt, or to have been specially 
sensitive to the distresses which they caused in many hearts, he may have 
seen in The Sunday Companion an instance policy against the danng 
combarivcncss of the new scientific spirit. Such a paper would gloss his 
enterprises generally with a moral respectability which might be a busmess 
asset, an endorsement of his ‘clean journalism’ policy. It would impart the 
touch of popular appeal to a branch of publishing which, with but one or 
two exceptions, had long been wanting in editorial novelty and frcslmess. 
The first issue of The Sunday Companion was dated July 1894. On its front 
page it bore a message: ‘I wish your new unsectarian paper every success.— 
Samuel Smiles.’ That celebrated professional moralist was interviewed 
inside the paper, which chiefly reported his interest in mechanics’ institutes. 
There was the inevitable article headed ‘At Church with the Queen . It 
was decorated by skimpy little fine drawings showing Her Majesty seated 
in lonely eminence in front of a congregation. Much of the material rmght 
have come from Answers] some of the paragraphs, under ‘Wise & WiW • 
from Comic Cuts. Turning to the last page, readers were confronted by a 
full-page black-letter advertisement for Beccham’s Pills— ‘Worm A 
Guinea A Box’. 

By the Harmswotth standards. The Sunday Companion was not ^ 
immediate success. For some rime it showed no sign of making a jirofit. 
Harold Harmsworth urged his brother to stop publication — ‘knife it , was 
his advice. From the beginning there was sectarian criticism. The Rew 
Michael Baxter, more usually knosvn as ‘Prophet Baxter’, who had gained 
a large circulation svith his Christian Herald by periodically predicting the 
end of the world, foretold impending doom for The Sunday Companion: 
Tt won’t last six months.’ When that forecast was falsified, there were 
imitators to be fought off. Arthur Peanon, of Pearsons IVeehly, came out 
v-ith the Sunday Reader. Roberston Nicoll, whose British Weehly dealt 
widi world politics as well as rcbgjon, started The Christian Bud_^et. A firm 
which published a comic paper called Sketchy Bits launched Illustrated 
Christian Neu's. 

Before long, Harmsworth’s paper remained alone in the arciu svith 
Baxter’s Christian Herald and Homers Penny Stories, a formightly publica- 
tion \snth a religious tone. For The Sunday Companion he engaged as 
editor, Hartley Aspden, a Newncs man who had been a Manchester 
CiiarJian reporter. Aspden’s carlyjoumalbm had taken him to denomina- 
tional gatherings, the congresses of the Esublishcd Church, the mcctmgs 

158 




NORTHCUFFE 

revenue. Another money-makii^ property had been found by the 
Harmsworths. , , 

Enghsh readers do not make a show of that religious loyalties and these 
papers were never a conspiaious part of die ubiquitous bookstall trade. 
Their sales were largely conducted on the basis of direct delivery by the 
newsagents to the homes of the people. Alfred Harmsworth and the 
and women around him both dKcovered and created a great new pubbe 
and it could hardly be otherwise than that the influence of their ideas and 
energies was a contribution to morals rather than to faith. It was wth 
more than merely acquisitive satisfaction that presently ^ey were able to 
flaunt across the &ont cover of The Sunday Companion: Largest Circula- 
tion of any Religious Paper in the World.' Of an ambition and un- 
popular editor 01 one of the Harmswordi ‘religious' journals it was long 
remembered that his layout for die cover of a Christmas issue included 
two lozenge-shaped illustrations, one captioned ‘Our Saviour and the 
other, alongside it, ‘Our Editor*. A rival editor of the proup ensured tMt 
a ‘puU’ of the cover appeared on Alfred Harmsworth s desk. Splendid! 
Alfred exclaimed on seeing it, bringing his fist down with a bang. Now 
I can get rid of him,’ and aid. 

The Harmsworth publishing domain was being consoUdated at other 
points, patcicularly among the juveniles’. Pluck Library and the Boys' Home 
Journal had been added to the bst, with results that bv no means alleviated 
Harold Harmswordi’s worries. Despite sometimes alarmingly fluctuatiM 
oiculations, the papen in this class sold in their hundreds of thousands 
and yielded their quota of profits. The editorial policy was the same in 
each instance: the cultivation of physical fimcss in the young, the en- 
couragement of adventure abroad and enterprise at home. In sul of them 
the bugle-call of patriotism was loudly sounded, pride in Great Britain 
and the Empire. ‘No more penny dreadfuls!' vras long the ruling theme 
and in at least one of the new Harmsworth boys’ journals it was stated in 
those words. Students might find the period more faithfully reflected m 
these papers than in many adult publications, in that they expressed the 
moral ideas and social interests that were thought to be best suited to the 
juvenile tastes of the time. The quite cxtraorduiary success which attended 
most of those new ventures enabled Alfred Harmsworth to detach himself 
more completely from the dcfculed editorial supervision which he had been 
giving to his pubbeations. They now numbered thirteen. In Harold he Md 
an extremely able deputy who could faedepended on to keep an unrelenting 
watch on costs and circulations. In Ccdl, Leicester and Hildebrand, he had 
no less eager partners, who were siqiported in their turn by a keen staff 
consisting entirely of members of die same youthful generation. All were 
given a share in the profits as well as salaries; generally, sixpence for every 
thousand of drculanon up to 100,000 copies and a shilling per thousand 



THE SIEGE OF PORTSMOUTH 


after. The basic salary averaged a week for each paper. Between them 
they devised and produced a stream of publications which, by intellectual 
standards, fell far short of their opportunity to shape the future while 
having an undoubted influence upon it. Alfred Harmsworth was not an 
architect of the new democracy. He was one of its master-builders. 
Projecting and editing his series of periodicals over seven or eight years 
gave him an intimate and perceptive knowledge of the public taste and 
of what, especially, the average man expected and was not getting from 
his newspapers. The experience and insight which he gained from his 
proprietorship of domestic, juvenile, religious and, particularly, women’s 
papers, were to be imprinted deeply and lastingly on a more influential 
part of the Fourth Estate. 


* 


A visit, his fhrst, to the United States of America combined a search for 
ioumalistic inspiration in New York with tarpon fishing in Florida, which 
latter experience he drew on for the chapter he afterwards wrote for The 
Baiminton Library, and fee arricles in die Fishing Gazette. He owed much 
to American journalism. The first issues of Answers had drawn freely on 
American newspapers and magaaines for articles and paragraphs. They 
continued to be a fertile source of editorial ideas. He paid his respects to 
several publishers, walked throughfheiroJBcesand printing plant, looked 
with a particularly keen eye into their distribution methods. He studied 
the New York newspapers with close comparative in terest. Lunching with 
representatives of the International News Company, he was handed a 
telegram: Answers 350,000. It was a figure with wltich to make an im- 
pression in that milieu of mainly local drculations. He was not over- 
impressed by this first sight of New York. He was surprised to see 'mud 
in the streets’. His visit was not reported. Hardened to spectacular personal 
success, the New York interviewers ignored him. 

Returning to London, he was met at Euston by his mother, waiting in 
her smart new carriage-and-pair. His talk was of the addition which he 
was gomg to make to the house at St. Peters, a building in tlie style of the 
American wooden-frame houses he had seen fiom the train during the 
journey from New York to Florida. It was to be a retreat in which he saw 
himself working in isolation fiom the domestic and social routine of 
Elmwood. He gave the order for it* construction ivithin the next three 
months. Known thereafter as ‘die bungalow’, it finally consisted of a large 
centra] room inth nvo box-like rooms at^oining, the whole fronted hy a 
veranda. The bungalow became the setting for activities of sometimes ur- 




Elmwood, St Peters, Thanct 


THE SIEGE OF PORTSMOUTH 


worth, after Alfred’s wife. The expedidon did not reach the Pole. It named 
its chief base Elmwood, and also added to the map the name of Alfred 
Harmsworth Island in the north of the Franz Josef group, the scene of its 
principal labours. Jackson was able to prove that the Franz Josef territory 
was not a land mass, as had been though^ but an archipelago of numerous 
small islands. Ice had deceived the earher explorers. His geographical 
work was accompanied by valuable scientific observations and col- 
lections. 

George Newnes was animated by a similar wish to see his country’s 
prestige extended to the snowy wastes. His expedition to Antarctica in 
1898 cost him ^(^38.000. He remarked, with a shrug of rcsienation, that 
all he got out of it was ‘one stuffed penguin’. His name, too, found a place 
on the Arctic charts. Alfred Harmsworth’s trophies were a Windiuard 
lifeboat, which was put on show in die garden at Elmwood, St. Peters, 
and a stuffed Polar bear. ‘That cost me thirty thousand pounds,’ he used 
to tell visitors to Elmwood, where it stood in the hall. He presented 
Windward to Lieutenant (later Admiral) Robert Peary, of the United 
States Navy, for use in the preliminary surveys which led to his reaching 
the North Pole, By way of acknowledgment, he was made a member of 
the American Geograpnical Society. 

Fridtjof Nansen to Alfred Harmsworth: 


Godthaab, 

Lysaker. 

1st October, 1896. 

Dear Mr Harmsworth, — Hearty thanks for your very kind letter. Certainly 
it is quite unnecessary to assure me that neither you nor any member of your 
n^eoition has used die word ‘rescue’ with reference to myself or my pleasant 
meeting with Mr Jackson. And. after aH, if the word had been used what 
would it matter* 1 hope you do not think me so frivolous as to mind it. 

I would have written to you long ago, as I feel I have so much to thank you 
for, having been your guest nearly two months, and having been treated with 
such a genuine English hospitality in the inhospitable North. 

Yours sincerely, 

FRIDTJOF NANSEN. 

* * * 


Alfred was beginning to establish a system of personal habits designed to 
increase efficiency; to see as few people as possible, to write as few letters 
as possible, to do no work after 9 p.m., and to start the day at 6.30 a.m. 
That was his expressed formula. The bungalow’ supplied the conditions 

idj 



THE SIEGE OF PORTSMOUTH 


My dear Alfred, 

Answers 
Comic Cuts 
Chip: 

Forget-Me-Not 

Wonder 

Home-Sweet-Home 
Marvel 
Union Jack 
Sunday Companion 


ANSWERS 

Tudor Street, E.C. 
20.7.94. 

iiS.OOQ 

42J,000 

282.000 

141.000 

184.000 
66,500 

144.000 

132.000 

45.000 


1,754,500 


1 hope that we shall be able to pay the same dividend next year and put 
£5.000 to reserve fund. To do this Anwtn dreubtion will have to keep up, 
and this is what I fear it may not do. A serious fall in Answers dreubtion svould. 
from a dividend-paying point of view, pbee the Company in great difficulty. 
1 have been looking at Ansn’ers bst six numbers and it is certainly very bad. 

|Mr Answers on a Tread Mill’ and articles like it have been done time out of 
mind. There is not a comer in a prison with which readers are not now 
thoroughly acquainted. I think agitations like 'Britain for die Britons' ate a 
mistake as diey give the paper a qtiasi-poUdcal status which is not desirable. 

Altogether I mink Anstfers will need the most careful nursing during the 
next few months. It is in a perilous position. 

Yours. 

HAROLD. 


Harold, tlic multi-millionaire in the making, was passing through one 
of his timid phases. He repeated to Alfred his opinion that Aitm-ers, the 
cornerstone of their undertakinp, avas ‘in a distinctly parlous condition’. 
Ihs fears were communicated in a number of letters to Alfred in 1894. a 
year which saw the family’s fortunes spread out in a way that not es’cn 
Alfred’s buoyant imagination had foreseen. 

Tlicrc IS no sign m Alfred’s diary or letten that he shared his brother’s 
pessimism at that time or let it influence his attitude to llieir last-growing 
business. Soon, indeed, he would assert himself vigorously against it. 
Harold’s impulse to ’knife’ any paper of theirs which did not snow a profit 
in sometimes a most unreasonably brief trial period was a matter for 
earnest discussion among the younger brothers of the firm. In bter years 
Leicester Ilarmswortli wrote a memorandum on the subjert. 

It s\»i one of die chief coneems of the younger members of the family 

163 



NORTHCLIFFE 


for carrying it out. Callers at the house, in pcnon or by telephone, would 
be told unlinchmgiy that he was not in when he was only a couple 
of hundred yards away, in fevouring temperatures bent over his deslt 
in white silk pyjamas. Alfred Hannsworth, thus attired, trailing news- 
paper galley proofs, was a memory of many Elmwood visitors. Oldei 
acquaintances had recollections of seeing him make use of one of tht 
first portable telephones, recalled as ‘a massive piece of equipment 
about the size of a sesving-machinc', which he lugged with Sisyphui 
labour from room to zoom as a demonstration of his primacy in the art 
of keeping in touch. He was continuing to experiment with the phono- 
graph (not yet known as the gramophone) as an instrument of profesionai 
efficiency. Edmund Yates, founder of The IVcrJJ, went to Elmwood tc 
hear Harimworth using it for dictation purposes. He spoke into the Ions 
tubular bom of an Edison machine and his words were played back oui 
of a comical confusion of overtones. Rapidly developing as a means ol 
communicating more than talk, the talking machine became for him a 
perennial pleasure. His interest in it as i source of entertainment led him 
to publish the first tegular reviews of new gramophone records. ‘For thi; 
one act alone,’ wrote Alfred Clarke, head of the H.M.V. company, ‘the 
trade m general owes him a bsting debt of gratitude.' 

Already the glow of the rising new century was becoming brightci 
over the horizon. Having helped to popularize the bicycle, with its in- 
calculable social effects, Alfred Harmsworth told the readers of his papers 
that clccmdty was about to be a means of propulsion as well as of a more 
general system of lighting, that man’s andent oteam of conquering the aii 
would be realized sooner than they imagined, and quoted with approval; 
in an article on the new development of photography, Emerson s poetic 
second-sight; ‘We make the sun paint our portraits now; bye-and-byc 
we shall organize the echoes as we now organize the shadows.' Neithei 
did he fad to observe that die twentieth-century promise was threatenec 
by forces more menacing than any die passing century had known. Ar 
Answers article, ‘Why Ac Germans come to England', condensed it 
popular terms, in 1891, fears whidi would change the history of the world 
Others of his contemporaries were not less eager to speed the march ol 
time. None had more spectacular opportunities than young Alfrec 
Harmsworth of expressing their impatience. Editorial prescience wa: 
varied by the valedictory mood. ‘Rus^ Growing Old’ an Answers head- 
uig announced. It epitomized the new generation’s intolerance not of 1 
lawgiver but of an age. 

Schemo Magnifico had been accomplished in firm outline; the filling- 
in process could go on indefinitely,' Callowing the requirements of th« 
market place. The situation of the firm was s^ being reported to Alfred 
Harmsworth almost daily by his brother Harold. 

164 


THE SIEGE OF PORTSMOUTH 


that the attempt to reproduce, in the dining-room, the black-oak antiquity 
of Holyrood Palace was perhaps over-ambitious. Spreading palms graced 
the drawing-room. AU round it were loi^, low bookshelves. The furniture 
was covered with scarlet flowered chintzes. Pink-shaded lamps stood on 
every bedside table. 

Cedi and Leicester went off on a world tour in July, as part of their 
general education and to make business arrangements in Australia. They 
left on July 26 and the next morning Alfred worked for the first time in 
his newly-bvult bungalow in the garden. He had recently shown much 
pleasure, on a bird s-nesting ramble round his grounds, at finduig a 
crumbling bit of flint wall in which time and ivy growth had made a 
recess giving a fine southward view across the meadows to the Channel. 
He had it shaped by a mason into what became known as his ‘pulpit’. In 
the years that followed he was often seen standing there gazing out to sea. 

As chairman of Answers Limited, presiding at the ordinary general 
meeting of the company in the Memorial Hall, Farringdon Street, London, 
on July 20, he had drawn attention to the success attending the publication 
of their two new papers for boys. Union Jock and Marvel. 

It can safely be said for them that, in addition to being money-eameis for 
the shareholders, they are doing excellent work in killing what was at one 
time a widespread cause of mis^cf, and even of crime. I refer, of course, to 
the ‘penny dreadfuls’, which, to my certain knowledge, have been steadily 
dying foe the last few years. The unexpected appearance of the Marvel and 
Union Jack has given them a blow from which they will not, in the opinion of 
those competent to speak, recover. 

To those shareholders for whom the moral aspects of publishing for the 
juvciule population were secondary to dividends, this class of paper was 
an attractive investment because the circulations were sustained by succes- 
sive waves of new readers. The profits for 1894 were Xi30.D59. The chair- 
man announced a dividend of fifteen per cent. 

Enjoying the pleasures of wealth, Alfred was already experiencing 
some of Its embarrassments. Klein, the High Holbom music publisher who 
had brought out ‘The Ellen Terry Waltz’, was in financial difficulties: 
‘lent him ^200’. An American named Christie called to discuss a gold- 
mirung venture: ‘he bored me with his endeavours to get finance’. His 
fnend Mountmorres, now editing The Artist, ‘came to ask me to help him 
in a difficulty, but I declined to give him any money’. W. E. Henley, the 
poet who edited the National Observer (originally the Scots Observer), 
Wanted him to buy or finance that far from flourishing but virile weekly 
paper. An offer was made but nothing came of it. Of greater moment was 
the diary entry for August 15: ‘Boyle, publisher of the “Westminster 

167 



NOBTHCIiFFfi 

K,=lf, CecJ, and Hddebt.nJ) to dbs»de ft.old from 

iiauments and appeals to him id not seem likely of success, we t»otted to 

Alfred to eitetcise Ks final authotity. Alfred ™ always 

In this way the S.«l<,y CcmpMcm was saved: a journal whii 

profits Ji which wL the patent of ofc jou^ls svh.ch 

profits, hut which would not have seen the light if the Sunday 

Len Wed’. The same story has to he toU about the Bys “ 

publications of wUch it was the patent. The Boys Friend did not P»J ”™' 

time. Harold insisted that it should be stopped and 

However, his viesvs were not allowed to prevail, fotn»a'fly > 1 ^” 

test of the business. The Htorld and His IK/e was tdled, in my 

result of this policy. Forjel-M.-No. one of tlie most P'™”? “d 

of out joumah, was set upon the path of extmcnon largely by Huold exe'asing 

his authority to have it printed on paper of almost mdesctibable poorness. ‘1 

one wished to describe m a sentence the opposing tendencies in this mattK, on 

would say that Alfred was a eieatot and Harold a cnttmg-dovimet. Hatolu s 

financial value to the business-very, very great yalue-was “rp°" X 

due to his gift of cutting down, and getting things done cheaper than t 

Uthctto been done. No item in the busmess was too small for his eye m tnese 

matters. 


Clashes of business judgment did not follow the brothers into the family 
circle, where tliey came under the authoriunan rule of their mother ana 
were united in their devotion to her. B. W. Young remembered 


were uiurca in uicii uevt^uun w iiv». • * p -- 

‘minor squabbles’ of those days in Tudor Street, and that bUroId once 
refused to get out a balance sheet ‘while Alfred behaves so rudely ’ 
Such incidents were in the normal flux of temperament. Irreconcua 
differences never arose, though the distance bet%veen some members 
the faimly was greater than between others, as, for instance, betwem 
Alfred and Hildebrand m their later years. Cecil Harmsworth lett tms 
testimony: ‘Alfred’s attachment to his £inuly clan was second only to 
devotion to our mother. What concerned them, concerned him. Throug 
t his life he maintained an affectionate interest in all matters affecting 


their well-being and thdr advancement.’ 

For most of that summer of 1894 Alfred was at Elmwood, wortog, 
fishing, cyclmg, watching cricket, playing tennis, receiving visits iiom 
members of his editorial staffs, relishing the satisfaction of ow^g a kenne 
of pedigree Irish terriers and of being able to stroll through his own pwe ^ 
and orchid houses, and having recourse to what an enthusustic neig otir 
described as ‘the finest billiard-room in Thanet’. He did not care or 


biUiards or any other game. He preferred strumming on^his little 


piano. It was a pleasant mode of life for a young man'svhose career 

hardly begim. Molly Harmswotdihad made an exceptionally comforM e 

home of Elmwood, though there were visitors who went away thinking 



NORTHCUFFE 


Gazette”, proposed to us that we should purchase "The Evening News 6f 
Post". Messrs. Tracy and Kennedy Jones came to sec us on the subject 
and promised to inquire into the matter. 

‘Schemo Magnifico’ had not mcloded developments outside the market 
for penodicals. Alfred Harmswordt may or may not have had his visions 
of svidcr domain. His brother Lacestec believed that be had, that he was 
‘dreaming and planning to base his fame as a journalist, mainly, upon 
newspapers’. Earber that year, using an intermediary, he had made in- 
quiries about the chances of acquiring the JsUtigton Daily Gazette, a 
London suburban paper; nodiing had come of them. When the prospect 
unexpectedly opened before him of becoming the owner of a London 
evening newspaper, he id not leap to seize it. ‘Was going up to town on 
the ‘‘Evening News & Post” matter,’ he wrote on August i8, ‘but didn’t 
feel well enough and didn’t go.’ Instead, he sauntered about the streets 
of Ramsgate. 


Opoosirc the Hacmssvorths’ office in Tudor Street, E.C., svas the office 
ot me evening newspaper called The Sun, founded in the Liberal intetest 
by T. P. O’Connor, M.P. Workers on 77je Sm often saw young Alfred 
Harmswotth going in and leaving his office, success evident in his proudly 
held chin and energetic walk and m the smarmess of his office building. 
A new weekly paper. The Sketch, had sent an interviewer down to Tudor 
Street to sec him. ‘There were flowers on his desk and flowers in boxes on 
all the window sills, all through the summer red geraniums and yellow 
calceolarias, while h» room was as full of flowers as a leading lady s 
dressing-room. The dmgincss of Tudor Street was redeemed by the floral 
display of the three-story building which bore a large gilt sign, “Answers’ , 
across its white-painted front.’ By comparison with every otlier building 
in its locahty, 24, Tudor Street looked so cheerfully inviting that it was 
occaiionally invaded by revellers mistaking it for a public-house. Today 
it IS overshadowed by the lordly propinquity of Northcliffie House. 

To the older generation of staff men the young Harmssvorth was still 
a flv-by-night figure who was maldng the most of his luck while it lasted 
and stood for none of the solid virtues, editorial or financial, which 
counted for success in Fleet Street. One man on The Sun, Louis Tracy, 
frankly admired Harimwordi, without having met him. Tracy was a 
Liverpool man who had worked on The Nprthern Echo at Darlington. 
After further experience at Cardiff and in India, he arrived in London to 
join T. P. O’Connor on The San. It was he who had suggested to Doyle, 
of the IVestininster Gazette, that it might be worth wMe tipping off 
Harmsworth about the sale of the Eivnin^ Neil’s & Post. In doing so, he 

168 



THE SIEGE OF PORTSMOtJTH 

advanced the Harmsworths’ fortunes without notably improving his own. 

In 1894 London had five p enny evening newspapers, the Pall Mall 
Gazette (1865-1923), The Globe (1807-1921), iiie Evening Standard (1827), 
the St. James’s Gazette (1880-1905) and the Westminster Gazette (1893- 
ip3i), and four ha]^)cnny evening papers. The Echo (1868-1905), The 
Star (1889), The Sun (1893-1906) and the Evening News & Post. Their 
combined ciccalktion% totalled less than any one of the three evening 
newspapers which hold the field today. In policy they were as varied as 
the tints of the paper on which they were printed (tinted paper being 
cheaper than white). Few were maleing money. Unlike the morning 
papers of the day, the London evetung papers, some of them, at least, 
were preparing to meet the needs and tastes of the new reading public 
which was put off by weighty opinions and long unbroken columns of 
news dispatches containing more descriptive stuff than news. Editing the 
Pall Mail Gazette in the 1880s and risking its reputation as ‘a gentleman’s 
paper’, W. T. Stead had briUiantly imagined a kind of joum^sm which 
was to ptevail later. His energy of mind was giveaa to expressing hsdf in 
sensational articles and in a keener response generally to events previously 
thought beyond the scope of London evening journalism. His flamboyant 
policy was ahead of its time, but as an inspirer of the livelier trend in 
newspaper editing he could claim some of the credit later given to Alfred 
Harmswotth. The Star, under T. P. O’Connor, had also set the pace with 
its bold American-style headings and the virile writing of its contributors, 
some of whom were later to make great names in me world of letters. 
Claiming to crusade for tsvo lumps of sugar, instead of one, in the char- 
woman’s tea, The Star made Radicalism almost gay. 

O’Connor was one of the first newspaper editors fo grasp the trend 
towards a more concise journalism. ‘ Wc shall have but one dafly article of 
any Icngtli and it will be usually confined within half a column.’ He had 
heeded the imphcations of Tit-Bits and Ansivers and, later, he was to follow 
them m a weekly paper of his o\vn. He had written a masterly article, 
headed ‘The New Journalism’, for 77 ie Neiv Rci'ieJi’, October 1889. There 
he referred to the parting of the ways betsveen ‘the long, lifeless columns' 
of the older newspapers and 'the more personal tone’ of their later rivals. 
He made much of the discrepancy between the fastidiousness wliich 
decried ‘any allusion to the personal appearance, the habits, the clothes, 
and the home and social life of any person’ and the respect wliich was 
|;cnerally accorded to history as written by Macaulay, Carlyle and Green, 
who scorned no detail, however trifling, which threw a light on the 
lubits and character of historical personages’. Nearer at band, there svas 
the dictum of Disraeli that Tt is the penonal that interests mankind’. 
Forced after diree years to resign from The Star, whidi he had made a 
literary but not a fmanaal success, O’Connor started The Sun, capitaliring 

169 



NORTHCUFFE 


there the considerable personal reputation he had made as a political 
wnter and commentator on the current scene. While he wrote his articles 
straight on the typewriter at what for diose days was thought to be an 
incredible speed— 'the bell of his machine never stops pinging', according 
to a colleague of his— the brunt of getting out The Sun every afternoon 
was being borne by Louis Tracy as assistant editor, and William Kennedy 
Jones as chief sub-editor. Uncertain of their future under ‘T.P.’s’ editorial 
reign, both had their eyes open for better jobs. 

Looking down into Tudor Street one morning from The Sun office, 
Jones saw a smart carriage and pair draw up at Answers building opposite. 
Out of it there sprang a young man in morning coat and top hat who 
helped out after him an attractive and particularly well-dressed young 
woman. ‘Al&ed Harmsworth andhis wife*, Jones was told when he asked 
who the couple were. He was impressed. 

By the end of the summer of 1894 The Sun was in trouble. The flat- 
racing season was ending and not all the paper's readers were to be wooed 
into continuing aUegiance by ‘T.P.’ writmg on politics ‘at the top of Hs 
voice’, as a critic remarked. The paper was making a loss of ^30,000 a 
year- O’Connor wrote to Harmsivorth suggesting *a combination of in- 
terests’, The plan was frustrated by politi^ differences. A committee 
appointed to study the position took the opportunity of considering the 
outlook for ocher London evening papers, as a result of which it was 
learned that the Evening News & Post was for sale. It had been financially 
supported by Coleridge Kennard, partner in a London banking house 
and for several years Conservative member of Parliament for S^bury. 
He supplied more than iQioo.ooo to keep it alive, bringing the total loss 
on the paper to a quarter of a million pounds. In 1894, he notified his 
solicitor, Bernard Parker: Tm going to stop the Evening Neivs. I can’t 
keep it going any longer.’ Listening to a plea for time, he gave Parker 
six weeks in which to make arrangements for the paper’s future. His 
sudden death threw the responsibility for the sale oa to his executors. 
They were left with a debt of ^15,000 on the Evening Neivs. It was only 
as the last week was expiring that a way out of the impasse was found. 
Parker managed to interest Harry Marks, Conservative M.P. for Thanet 
and chief proprietor of the Neirs. Marks, who was a pioneer of 

City journalism, undertook to keep the paper goirm. But the process of 
resuscitation seemed likely to be prolonged and after a few months he 
gave notice of withdrawal- Then apaper maker issued a writ which would 
have stopped publication. Anodier paper maker was persuaded to take up 
debentures, extending the time maegin for further negotiation. In July 
1894, both Conservative and Liberal money was offered and a final Con- 
servative bid of £17,000 was being considered by Parker on behalf of the 
Kennard family and Marks. 


170 



THE SJEGE OF PORTSMOUTH 

At this point the impending sale was mentioned to Alfred Harmsworth 
by Boyle. Tracy and Kennedy Jones of T 7 ie had seen the books of the 
Evening News & Post under the pretext of procuring information on which 
their editor, T. P. O’Connor, might make an offer, although a condition 
of sale was that the paper should be conrinued in the Conservative in- 
terest. Both were surprised to find that the paper had a useful circulation, 
touching 100,000 copies. They resolved to try for an option, with the 
idea of selling it on terms which would include contracts for each of them 
and, if possible, a cash consideration. They had no capital and had no luck 
in finding any until, within a day or two of the close of their option, a 
Sun colleague, Harry Jones, mentioned Alfred Harmsworth’s name. When 
they doubted his ability to purchase the paper, Jones said that Harmsworth 
had told Kim that the profits of Answers Omit^ exceeded ^40,000 a year. 

Harold Harmsworth to Alfred Harmsworth: 

Weddetbum Cottage, 
Wedderbum Road. 

Hampstead, N. 

(Undated] 

My dear Alfred, — Kay Robinson has not a very high opinion of Tracy 
and Jones. He says they have not got that reputation as journalists whicJi they 
would like us to believe. He, however, fully believes that the E. News might 
be made to pay. 

I have written to Tracy that under no circumsunces would we consent to 
either he or Jones holding mote than 10% of the shares. TIus vsill make him 
cool off, I think, and in that case it will as well to let the matter slide. 

If we could pick the paper up for a song it would be worth our while to 
have It, but not othersvise. 

Youn, 

HAROLD. 

Harold wTotc to Alfred on August 16: 'I must say I am not keen on the 
venture. I have no wish to identify myself wth the Conservative Party 
and It would certainly not suit your purpose to do so cither.' The following 
day I larold wrote to say that he had made an offer for the Evening News. 
*It IS that wc pay 000 down andiafccovcrdcbts amounting to 15,000. 
Trac)’ sap it wnll be accepted.’ Harold added; ‘I think there is money to 
be made out of it.’ He foresaw that ‘the sporting clement’ would have to 
be encouraged. The paper will not sell a copy without it.* He appended 
to his letter, as was his habit, the latest sales figures of their existing 
publicauons; 'Ansu'rrs 356,000, Cornu Cuts 438,000, Chips 283,000, 
forget- Me-\'ot 145,000, h fari-el 153,000, Sunday Companion 38,000, Union 
Jacl; 140.000. 73,000.* 

Trac)- said that dclap dunng the negotiations gave him and Kennedy 


171 



NORTHCUFFE 


joncs sleepless mghts. That experience was apparently not shared by the 
brothers Harmsworth. Their corrcspondoicc gives no sign of elation at 
the prospect of newspaper ownership. Alfred noted on August 27: ‘In 
great doubt all day whether we should get die Ei'cnhi^ News or not, there 
being other competitors and matten difficult to arrange.’ One of the com- 
petitors tvas the Wolverhampton nesvspapcr proprietor, Thomas Graham, 
who believed that the paper’s heavy fosses would dispel any stipulation 
about its future policy. He planned to secure it for the Liberak, but failed 
because his partner-to-be insisted that there should be no racing news. The 
sale agreement sviih the Harmswotdu was signed on August 28 at the 
price of ^25,000 including plant, machinery and fittings. As a preliminary 
to completing it, Alfred Harmsworth went to Coutts’ Bank to arrange for 
the disposal of some of his securities. The nunager deemed it prudent to 
say that in his banking experience Acre were several ways by which a man 
might be certain of losing his money and none of them more certain Aan 
running a ntrwspapcr. Undeterred, Alfred put his signature to the docu- 
ments. He then went back to Tudor Street to dicutc a note to Tracy and 
Jones confirming that Acy were to receive between them fifteen per cent 
of Ac profits ot a company formed to acquire Ae Emih’^ News & 

On August 31, 1894, Ae leading article in Ac Eveiun^ News & Post had 
for its heading: The Evening Nesvs’. It announced Aat at four o’clock 
the previous afternoon Ac proprietorship of the paper Itad passed into 
new hanA. An unctuous pteamblc about Ac future moral and social 
colicy of the pip«r conformed to long-established editorial custom. Rarely 
has any new periodical or newspaper been started, or a change of owner- 
ship publicly notified, wiAout it. Free from /oH or prejudice, U will Breach 
the xospel oj loyalty to the Empire and faith in the peoples united tmder the 
Dntishfa^. . . . Strongly and unjalterin^fy Conseroatii’e in Imperial politics . . . 
will occupy an aJoanced demoaatie plaijorm on all social matters. . . . Pro^rcsswe 
in riiiriicipal reform . . . ttonseetanm in all cjuesiians affecting the religions beliefs 
ef the (oitmuinity . . . sympathetic totoards iMbour . . .frien^dly to every phase of 
communal adi’aiuemetiS. . . . 

Night after night Alfred and Harold, with Kennedy Jones, met in Ae 
ramsliacklc building at 12 Whitefriars Street, trying to find out why, as 
Alfred wTotc later, ‘Ac Evening Neu's was such a failure tliat Ac wags of 
the UaAcal Press used to amuse Acmsclves by having its shares put up for 
sale in bushel baskets and mfornung Ae world Aat suA shares realized a 
fesv pence caA’. A Fleet Street acquaintance met them one night going 
into Ac Ei-ening iNVu’i office. Returning his greeting, Harold said moodilyi 
We’re gobg to uke anoAcr look at our gold brick. Tlus’, he said, in- 
Aating Jones, *u Ae man svho soH it to us,’ Their room in Ae office 
building was an attic. It had only a small tooflight wiA broken panes. 

For Ae week before Ae transfer to Ae HarmsworAs Ae loss on Ac 


172 



TIIE SIEGE OF PORTSMOUTH 

paper was ^^loo, the average for oiany previous weeks. In the first week 
of their ownership a net profit of fy was shown. In the third week it was 
^$0. The paper struck a lucky vein in its racing tips, although, against 
Jones’s advice, Alfred had cut down the racing news from fourteen 
columns to nine. It earned its purchase price in three years. Harold had 
already made his presence felt. Under foe old management, everything 
had to be paid for at high rates because the continuance of the paper 
depended on long credits. Now all that was changed. Tracy said that it 
became a joke in the office to say that when Harold had a couple of 
minutes to spare he woiJd send for the paper agent and knock off another 
two and a half per cent discount. The four new stockliolders dined in 
celebration at Kettnets. Harold refused to sec any reason for high spirits. 
‘It will take us years to wipe off those debentures*, he glumly reminded 
Alfred in his next week’s report. 

By the end of two months Tracy’s thrustful partner, Kennedy Jones, 
bad succeeded him as editor. Tracy was given the post of manager. Not 
proving successful, he sold liis $cvcn-and-a-half per cent interest in the 
paper to Harold Harmsworth and took over ihc management of a rscine 
sheet called Paddock Life in which Harmsworths had a small financial 
interest. Finding that unprofitable, he went to tlie Allahabad Pioneer and 
afccr-vards settled dosvn to the life for which lus talents best fitted him, 
that of a novelist. One of his novels. The Finn! Iker, was widely read. 
‘Tracy, who is a great friend of mine, did not hold on to liis shares,’ 
Alfred Hatmswotih wrote in 1921. 'Had he done so, he would have made 
a fortune, but he is happy without it.’ 

Kennedy Jones, kr^o^vn and remembered in Fleet Street as liked 
to boast that he lud been bom in the same Glasgow street as Sir Tliomas 
Lipton, ‘only at the better end’. He was the same age as Alfred Harms- 
worth and his Welsh name capped a mixed ancestry of Scots and Irish. 
He had raven black hair, scars on his forehead, and an untamed look in lus 
eye. As a boy, he sold newspapers in tlic succts. He learned his journalism 
in Glasgow and had worked on nctvspaperj in Zxriccstcr and Birmingham 
before coming to London to make wlut he could of qualities which were 
mainly mediocre but which he did not hide under a bushel. ‘I’ll be a rich 
man ui five years’, he had bragged on leaving Birmingham. Before finding 
his feet in London, he knew hard times. Kciglilcy Snowden, a respected 
Yorkshire journalist, met him walking Fleet Street in die search for work. 
Jones svas es-en tlicn inwndblysurc ofhimsclf 'I’m getting to know tliis 
bloody lown hke my shirt. Inside tsv’clvc months, bddic, 1*11 be making a 
thomand a year.’ He himself wrote that he had been forced at diat time to 
CO into an catmg-housc m Poppins Court, Fleet Strecr, and order a meal 
for winch he could not pay. ‘I was hungr)*. I had had nothing to cat since 
breakfast. I was twent)--sevcn and of robust build. My luck was out.* It 


173 



NORTHCUFFE 


nuy have been in recoil from dut shabby Bohemianism that later, at a 
picnic, lie bawled loudly that the cold chicken had not been boned, threw 
the bird over a hedge, and drove ten miles to a seaside grand hotel for 
lunch. 

A man of sardonic moods, daring tempers and no-quarter aggressive- 
ness when it came to beating down rivals, ‘K.J.’ had almost none of the 
elements of personal popularity. He had many enemies whose existence 
seemed to give him pleasure. TTiey say I’m brutal and autocratic! he 
would repeat with a gnn of sclf-approvaL When he had a major surgical 
operation, an old colleague of Ins said to him: ‘Directly I saw you were 
going to be cut open I )mew it would be all right. There couldn’t be any 
complications in your case — ^you never had any bowels.’ His sense of 
humour was ruthless, despite his engaging smile. 'They say a sub-editor 
I sacked jumped into the Thames. They’re wrong — it was tsvo sub- 
editors.’ The Irish in him softened his harsh Glasgow accent. Possibly the 
same strain showed itself in his facts ofunproclaimcd generosity. Having 
once dismissed an editorial man, he continued to pay tlie victim’s salary 
out of his osvn pocket until a new job was found. A colleague of his of 
many yean insists: ‘Under the roughness there was a heart of gold.' ‘He 
was a just master,’ wrote the Fleet Street essayist, E, T. Raymond, who 
edited the Evening Standard. 

In Fleet Street the part played by Kennedy Jones in the Harmswortlis' 
affairs has probably not been fairly cstimatea, Harold Harmsworth, who 
championed Jones as an oSice colleague, said that ifjones's contribution 
could be stated in figures he would put it at ten per cent. Leicester Harms- 
worth contended to the bst that ‘the part played by Kennedy Jones in the 
success of the Daily Mail was very small indeed’. In encouraging the view 
that he was one of the founders of the Harmsworth fortunes, ‘K.J.’ was 
conforming to his instincts but hardly to the facts. He was also overlooking 
the inconvenient truth that he had gained his original footing witli the 
Harmsworths as part of the purchase terms for the Evening News rather 
than for his journalistic prowess. His newspaper training, and his experi- 
ence of the mechanical side in particular, was probably invaluable at that 
time and it cannot be doubted that he more than anyone else helped to 
transform Alfred Harmsworth from a weekly paper journalist into a 
ncsvspapcrman. 


As a comment on Alfred’s intuitive processes, a picturesque remark was 
made about him soon after he had acquired control of the Evening News: 
‘He has a mental searchlight whidt reveals to him glimpses of the future.’ 
He had almost no experience of news handling but from the first he 


J74 



NORTHCUFFE 


jounulistic revolution, in which th^ were taking the lead, was gaining in 
force every day. The revolution in advertising, which was to pile up 
wealth for them, had hardly begun. 


In town, Alfred and Mary Harrastvorth rented a house, j? Charles 
Street, Mayfair, but Alfred travelled constantly to Broadstairs, working at 
Elmwood as often as possible. His wife did not share so fully his regard 
for the place. In London, if she was away, he preferred to stay at the Con- 
stitutiojul Club or at an hotel. He had a bachelor’s inclinations but no 
instinct whatever for looking after himself. His bricfdaily diary notes svcrc 
now kept for him by Sutton, whom he was more usually addressing as 
‘Sulkin'. From die biographical standpoint, the servant was even less 
communicative than the master. ‘Worked in the morning. Went to town 
by the Granville. Attended “Evening News” meeting. Best week so Cir — 
profit /]i68. Slept Mettopole, Room 173.' ‘Granville' recurs constantly, 
the ‘Granville Special Private Express’, a train running betsveen Cannon 
Stfcer, London, and Ramsgate in an hour and forry-ftve minutes. Over the 
yean Alfred Harmsworth became one of its most conspicuous and no 
doubt best-attended passengen. In it he did a great deal of office work, 
reading articles, correcting proofs, avriting his ‘Editorial Chat’ for 
Answers. Hearing that Peanon. travelling to his Surrey home by train each 
night, worked tvith the aid of a ‘pofoWe electric lamp’, he had the fact 
noted in the Efenin^ News, as if it was a wonder of the age. A result of 
Sutton’s loyalty as an ainanucmis is that we arc told much l«s than 
before about ‘Mr Alfred’s' health, to which he himself had previously 
made many diary allusions. ‘Stayed in bed working until luncn , is one of 
the few hints now given to show that he was still having to take care of 
himself. Harold wrote him a wming note from 10 Lansdowne Place, 
Eastbourne: ‘I hear you arc going to Paris on Thursday. I think you want 
a chance. You should drop as much work as possible. At the present pace 
we shall be nervous tired-our men by the time we reach forty.’ 

Before leaving for Paris, Alfred had agreed with Kcruicdy Jones, as the 
D A’ni'j editor, that the paper must be the first in the field with its 
reports of the trial of James Canham Read for the murder of a young 
woman at Prittlcwell, near Southend. The arrest of Read, at Mitcham, 
Surtc)', after a hunt lasting several days, had kept newspaper readers on 
tiptoe witfi excitement. On September 29. Alfred had visited Chelmsford 
Pnson m die company ofan Anniwcontribuior, Major Arthur Griffiths, 
sometime governor of Millbank Prison, London, acting editor of Tlie 
FerfJi/ijWy Km'nt'. and author ofbooks on crime and criminals. They had 
talked urth Read for an hour m his cdL Coming away, I larmswortli had 

176 



THE SIEGE OF PORTSMOUTH 


no doubt that the trial would create die highest pitch of public interest. 
Informing Kennedy Jones of his bdief, he left for Paris. 

Working each morning in his room at the Hotel Chatham, sightseeing 
every afternoon, theatre-going every evening, enjoying, in particular, 
being escorted ‘round the thieves’ quarter’ with a detective, he fitted in 
several talks with the proprietor of Le Petit Journal, M. Marinoni, whose 
four-page paper with its trenchant front-page leading articles sold 650,000 
copies daily, exceeding the total for all the Condon morning and evening 
newspapers together. Le Petit Journal was said to be making ^150,000 a 
year. The importance of the meetings may or may not have been obvious 
to Sutton, as he took down the dictated diary entry on ‘Mr Alfred's' 
return to Condon; ‘Drafted plan for our new daily.’ If the plan had been 
forming in Alfred Harmsworth’s mind during the Paris visit, it probably 
received an invigorating new impulse from a telegram sent by Kennedy 
Jones on die last day of the Read trial, November 15, 1894: Ei'ening Neifs 
sold 3go, 000, 

Only a few months previously, Alfred had spoken out strongly in 
Answers against newspaper exploitation of crime; ^not 3 fact of which we 
as a nation should be proud’. He may not have known, then, that Delane, 
as editor of The Times, had been an enthusiast for ‘a good murder*. What- 
ever his private feelings were about the Evening !^ews treatment of the 
Read murder case, Alfted Hatmswonh would have had to admit that it 
gave him a valuable first lesson in the methods of news-getting and 
particularly in the expert use of the telegraph and telephone. For that he 
owed more than he may have acknowledged to ‘K.J, 

Alfred Harmswortli to brothers Cecil and Leicester: 

Elmwood, 

St. Peter’s, 

Kent. 

October 22, 1894. 

My dear Boys, — This >vill arrive at Vancouver a long time before you get 
there, but I write it because the wife and I arc off to live in Paris for the month 
of November. Either from Modicr or the newspapers you will have Icamt 
that we have bought the ‘Ever^g News*. It was a big venture for us. We had 
to pay J^2f,ooo, but we have so far made about an average of ^Ijo a week 
Out of It. On the whole we think it a bargain inasmuch as we got all the 
tnaciuncry throssm m. Its circulation is 40,000 a day more than that of 'The 
Star and 60,000 a day more than that of *1110 Sun*. 

All the papers arc doing well: ‘Fo^et-Me-Not’ has been fluctuating between 
145.000 and 148.000 for a long time. The autumn double number, price ad., 
went well, domg 148.000. ‘Homc-Sweet-Home’ is 75,000. ‘Answers’ is as high 
as It was this rime last year. We are pving away for a Cliristmas prize a 
flourishing shop in any kind of buuncss the winner chooses. Tlie halfpenny 


177 



NORTHCUFFE 


books, the ‘Marvel’ and the ‘Union Jack’, are rising splendidly. We are just 
abouc to start another which will appear Nos'cmlwr 26th called ‘The^ Pluck 
Library’ The ‘Wonder’ is doing more than it ever did before. ‘Ciiips’ went 
down but IS now rising 'Comic Cuts' is steady, 425 [425,ocx>]. 

Our next scheme is a daily paper whidi wc talk of starting in February. 

We arc all looking forward to seeing you again. I expect by the time you 
get to Vancouver you will be diing of your travels and anxious to come home 
to work. ... ' 

ALFRED. 

P.S. ‘Sunday Compamon’ rismg steadily. 

In its first year under the Harmsworihs the Evening News made ^14,000. 
The second year’s profit was ^^25,000; ‘Since wc purchased the Evening 
News last September,’ Alfred wrote in Answers, May 25, 1895. 
added nearly 400,000 copies a week to its circulation. We paid £2$, 000 
for the paper, lock, stock and barrel, and wc would not sell it for ^100,000, 
Of, indeed, for any figure.’ He recalled, pleasurably, that when he and his 
brother had taken over the paper only a few months before, it had been 
confidently stated ‘that there is no money in halfpenny evening papers'. 
He had noted ‘a sincere disposition to shake hands and wish us joy of the 
Evening News’. Now joy had come of it. ‘Wc are more than satisfied with 
out new venture. It has answered well.’ There followed an accountants’ 
certificate of 160,000 copies a day sold. 

For the first time he blew the exclusive satisfaction of being near the 
centre of events, of having direct contact with the makers of history. 
From Paris he had written to Lord Salisbury to inform him what had been 
accomplished with a netvspaper on which me Conservative Parry had lost 
a great sum of money. Lord Salisbury, who in a few months was to take 
Lord Rosebery’s place at 10 Downing Street, expressed pleasure at hearing 
about 'the good prospects which have opened before the Evening News’. 
He remembered ‘how gloomy they were in the days of my poor friend 
Coleridge Kcnnard’. Two days after his return from Paris, at the end of 
November, Alfred Harmsworth breakfisted with Cecil Rhodes and Starr 
Jameson. ‘Afterwards walked with Cedi Rhodes from the Burlington 
Hotel to Ebury Street', a perambulation which he would not have been 
likely to share as die proprietor of Anstvers or Comic Cuts. 

'Decemher 18, 1894. — Slept to half-past 10. Worked at office. Decided 
on issuing anodter weekly paper for svomcn. Home to Elmwood by the 
Granville.’ The previous evening Alfred bad been ar the Sylvan Debating 
Club’s meeting: ‘Made a speech on Mr Rhodes’s policy.’ Fot the moment, 
Mr Rhodes’s policy was engaging his anention more closel)'- than his 
editorial responsibilities. He had come under the spell of one of the few 
men to whom he could accord heroic stature. 'Cecil Rhodes was the only 
sutesman for whom I ever heard Al&ed express unqualified admiration,' 
178 



THE SIEGE OF PORTSMOUTH 

Cedi Harmsworth wrote in later yean. Alfred was swing the Brmsh 
world through Rhodes’s eyes and the vision was stirnng him m a way that 

no party political creed or issue had before. 

The new weekly for women was to be his reply to Pearson s Hohic Aofe , 
which Harold estimated was making a profit of £\ 2 ,ooo a year. Ha^d 
was still much bothered about the future of tlic Atim’crs company. I hc 
morel looked into it, the more I see it wants support. To be m a tliorouglily 
good position, it should have further souren of profit to the «tcntof not 
L rfan £ 1^,0 wkly.- Thus incited. Alfred hud urted Clemen K 
Shorter, r4o had founded Tie Stelrl. for the Instams, 

Elmwood. Shorter was having a personal success wrth Tlie SUH by rninj 
the new metal process blocks for printing pictures instead °f “ 6“"" 
wood blocki. It meant spccaer reptoduetion, an important developmntt 
in ptinting and joutnahStic history. Shorter was mabng use of the ness 
method to HI n, SM with pictures of tounful f 
knew him only in his later years, the shambling '’“f 5,;, f 'had 

bobbed on his shoulders as he svalkcd. u, j t,' 

been an enterprising, sought-after editor. Alfred Hat , wnduhe 

to persuade him into a change of allegiance. Haro pp , ..t,: 

tciLdcr tlut they were not yet in a position tn pay the salary which 

nmrHatTOWOtth paper for women 
from being a counter-move apmst Pwrson s i^ine ■ 
exmcnce 4 the assumption that the 

else, could produce for a penny what had before Harmswor^^accd 
Tlic result wa, a feather in the cap of young 

twenty-five, flaunnng Ins first inonstariic an imp Young 

callen with hii canicst apprcaation of thcit^wor - ^w^o'smokc^ 

as he was. he had grasped tile fact slut the new w . 
cigarettes and were becoming aggressive alwut t c s , 

tetesu wnth all other women, svhntcver theit age mvlves did not 

a change of statu, sva, deeidca,- in the att women 

esientJily dunge. He wa, ably helped by nvo titten on 

Hot, BoJvn. A b.de U.et, Maud Down wa, nude 

and suecesifully tenected the ptopnetot, policy f" 

c;,.v, line wa, coiy domeintity. nnged with ■>'' P""'' 

piofcwcd iimnutc knowledge of persons in big I P ■ 

daughiet, invatubly addles, bet a. ••.Mama' . Making 

to esuhl.il.ed rtejodiccs. It dneouraged •fL' ,h.n,es,* 

ruHidung aitiile! on cateeu and new oudett for ' 

It. -signecf usaew gosnp page was a jootn.lut|e ^ 

pmenn another. l. pnhtni.ed,.I«..oneof|l.cf.t.. 

called >nBleJ„.k,- which pave a.dnnngrIe..uteto.hew....gor.oecee<l 


179 



NORTHCUFFE 


jng generations and gamed for die paper a sound and solid part of its 
arculation. ‘Give them plenty oranitnw', Alfred Harmswotth had said in 
the tone of inspiration as Leicester showed him ‘dummy’ pages of the 
children’s part of the paper. 

The rush for Home Chat, when iB fiot isiuc was put on sale m March 
1895, was exceptionally heavy, outrivalling that for any of the group s 
publications up to that nme. It was a sign of the confidence of ‘the trade 
in the judgment of Alfred Harmsworth and those around him. That 
promising start was like a morning on wluch the sun shines too soon. It 
was followed by anxious times, due in part to printing troubles, to keen 
competition from Pearson and, in Harold Harmsworth’s opinion, to 
faulty advertising arrangements. The number of returns from the news- 
agents caused him to write despondently: ‘I do not at all like the outlook.’ 

Harold Harmsworth to Alfred Harmsworth; 


tathjune, 1895. 

My dear Alfred,— Answers 44i.4O0. Comic Cuts 391,000, Home Chat 
185.800. Marvel 164,000, Boys’ Friend 145.750, Chips 265,000, Forget-Me-Not 
H5.000- 

Decline in the sale of Home Chat is getting very serious. There is no sign of 
it abating. Leicester ii going eatefully through all tlie ladies’ papers and is 
drawing up a list of the additional features that might he dealt with. It seems to 
me that we must make up our minds not to see any profit out of this paper 
until next year. If the fall ir not arr«ted, we shall have to make good a very 
heavy loss tliis year. The paper is not neatly so good as it might be. 

Yours, 

HAROLD. 

Before long the prospect brightened again and in a year or tsvo the 
btest Harmsworth paper for women was gaining an increasingly pro- 
minent place jn the company’s balance sheet. It continued pubbeation 
mini its demise in 1959. An ’Aunt Molly’, impersonated in the early days 
by younc Leicester Harmsworth himself was still in charge of the junior 

f iagcs, where a shadow')- Jumbo recalled Ac once overwhelmingly popu- 
ir hilarities of'Jungle jinks’. 


For May 4, 1 892, Alfred had wjjwoi in hia diary.* ’Dined svdrh Graham 
(presumably William Graham, solidtorj and his partner, to discuss my 
going in for Mhtics.’ The general dccdon of Aat year appears to have 
given a nesv tCrection to his tlunking about Ac future. He lud not shown 
more Aan a casual interest in politics. Now he was seeing himself as a 
Member of Parliament, an inspiration likely to have had social as well as 



NORTHCUFEE 


as 3 naval base m the great war whidi. according to Old Moore, was 
imminent. The story was designed to pky on local fears and local patriot- 
ism, no part of the kingdom being mote sensitive to the recurring war 
scares that flashed the growing might and defiance of Germany across the 
European scene. William Le Queux was invited to go down to Southsea 
to discuss the idea. In reply, he wrote to Sutton; ‘The doctor says I have 
overworked myself and has ordered me a rest. I regret this exceedingly, 
for to Mr Harmsworth I owe whatever success I have obtained as a writer 
of serial fiction.’ The Siege of Portsmouth was written to Alfred’s order and 
under his close supervision by Bcckles Willson, a young and dandyish 
Canadian freelance journalist, in collaboration with William Laird Clowes, 
a leadmg naval historian who was eloquent if not fanatical about Britain s 
unpreparedness at sea. He supplied the technical information, wliile 
Willson was responsible for the civilian side of the story. Alfred left no 
doubt in the mind of either that plot mattered less than authenticity of 
atmosphere. Readers were to be impressed above all by its scientific 
autboriry, important in viesv of local expert knowledge. Willson was told 
to identify by name certain Portsmouth personalities who might be relied 
on in a war emergency to live up to the higbesr patriofic principles, while 
the dockyard wotkets, whose support was vital to the election, were to 
be shosvn vahandy contending with war conditions. For that purpose, he 
studied the Portsmouth directory, ticking off names from the lists of 
members of local political patties. ‘Put in old Jack Palin,’ he was com- 
manded by Admiral Lord Charles Beresford. ‘He was a boatswain under 
me and he taught Prince George to swim!’ 

The serial was advemsed to the public on hoardings everywhere in the 
town and along the roads leading to it Large posters showed a bayonet 
charge by svaves of foreign soldiers, idcnnfiable according to readers’ 
prejudices as German, Russian or French. The Town was seen 
crumblmg to dust under shell fire, while townsfolk reeled to their deaths 
in front of the stricken atadel. History itself postponed the destruction of 
Portsmouth Town Hall, from enemy action, for fifty years. According to 
a note of Harold Harmsworth’*, the story was not a marked success as a 
circulation raiser. Perhaps the hot summer made it uncongenial reading. 
Besides, the town was ert fete. An Ttalian naval squadron had arrived on an 
official visit and the streets were bright with decorations and busy with 
civic formalities. It was diffictilt to induce a war mood. Bcckles Willson 
was impatiently taking time off at Portsmouth from his London job of 
helping^ to prepare the monthly tnaganne which was to be the Harms- 
worths’ reply to Nernies’s highly successful StrattJ. Willson had written 
in his diary after a fint discussion witii Alfred about the serial: ‘What a 
strikingly handsome fellow he is — a most engaging figurel’ Appointed 
cditor-to-be of the new magazine at £$00 a year, Willson visited Elm- 
182 



THE SIEGE OF PORTSMOUTH 

wood, which he found ‘aU very IiKorious and very ravishing and very 
stimulatine’. . , , 

He was not to know that already Harold Harmswor^ was worrying 
about the preliminary expenses of the proposed magazine. It is costing 
lAo a weS. in overheads and, so far as I can see. Acre is not Ac least 
Aance of its coming out for anoAer twelve months. He added to Jus note 
to Alfred: ‘We have a very heavy financial struggle with Home Chat, znd 
we could not stand anoAer.’ Characteristically, Alfred had gone ahead 
wiA Ae magazine plan, not deterred by questions of cost, until polincs 
took his attention from it. Meanwhile. Beckles Willson, whose devotion 
to Ae Mother Country later found passionate expression m a book, 
England: By an Overseas Englishman, had be^ work on Ac PortsmouA 
serial. WhL it was finished, Alfred ordered him to write ^ 
to arouse auAences at the Empire music hall, Portsmou • , ’ 

whUe the election lasted, an attractive young woman m Ae 

Union Jack walked on to the stage Acre twice-mghtly to sing Ae doggerel 
refrain: 

The soldier brave fights for his flag. 

Hu martial valour shields it. , 

The sailor staunchly otu Fleet 

But here’s to Ae lad who builds it. 

To make sure that Ae song would be heari and 

yurd workers and their sweeAeatts and wives, 

twenty loud-voiced young men at sixpen« apiece an . Yrranee- 

to JeLud repeated oncoL. BecUes f 'll"" 

ment ‘gave much offence' to the profc»iona! pe heard 

While there were moments in which he pleasing smile 

catcalls from roughs in the streets, the Candida c n„j>P(from a con- 
and unusual lock of golden hair flowing over his f”*”? J 
temporaty Portsmouth account) was an ev^ed the 

the mmp;.gn. He and his wife, whose appearance , 

epithet of 'eharmmg in the lot^V d If them. Alfred's 

Were strict m Aeir observance of all that w p every 

punenho wa, flawless. He never kept a^meetmg loaf chanS 

sort of function. He gave money to ^ „ ,pd old people's 

mstitutiom and causes, as various as Catholic schools, 

treats, a Church of England roof repam ‘7”“ 3 SLg 1 

*= Church Uds' Brtgade the <^“7 Xment, the 

educational classes m Hebrew, the P.SJ^ _ rnost substantial 

Royal Navy Pensioners’ Association. His domestic 

donation of all going to Ae local pMisc^tiv t-onizme Ae local 

life was compheated by Ae need to take care m patromzmg tn 



NOBTHCtIFFE 


tradesmen. The names of several grtxwrs, fishmongers, dairymen, green- 
grocers and bakers, among othen, appear in his account books for the 
period, indicating diat be was aware of rfie risks of discrimination. 

He cheerfully let himself in for dances at memorial halls, for receiving 
deputanons of chief petty officers, naval writers, naval coopers, navvies and 
stokers, for uips in destroyers, for takii^ die first and second degrees of 
Freemasonry, and submitting to the rites and ceremonies of Druids, 
Buffaloes, Foresters and Oddfellows. The Harmsworth carriage-and-pair 
was the smartest of its kind; the horses, high-stepping it through the streets 
of Portsmouth and the avames of Southsea, made passers-by turn and 
stare in admiration. An artist member of the Harmsworth stm, Roland 
Hill, who had been sent down from London, wrote privately to a friend: 
‘A.H. has played the game for all it is worth, never missing a chance for 
effect — standing up in an open carriage, illuminated by torches, with one 
arm lovingly twined round the slender form of his young svife — tableau — 
cheers.’ More perhaps to his taste was the siitmg requested by Venity Fair 
on behalf of 'Spy' (Sit Leslie Ward), though the result was one of the 
feeblest likenesses ever achieved by that cclcwatcd cartoonist. There were 
visits to Dickens’s birthplace at Portsea; house-patty compensations, too, 
at Broadlands, home of the AshJeys, where he mingled widj society per- 
sonages whose names Sutton dutifully recorded in the diary. Alfred 
Harmsworth’s patrician fellow Conservative candidate in the election, the 
Hon. Evelyn Ashley, was puzried bv the gauche manner of Kennedy 
Jones, who closely attended his chief during the campaign. Ashlev had 
been Lord Palmerston’s private secretary. He knew personally half the 
aristocracy of England and appeared to find much entertainment in his 
association with ‘those pushful young men’ from London. 

As a speaker, Alfred soon realized that his voice was too narrosv in 
compass to command a large audience. It was a gentle voice to come from 
a personality so manifestly charged with vital force. Its undertones were 
pleasing and gave it a rare quality of memorablencss. It suggested con- 
versational finesse, not oratorical power. Those who knew Iiim intimately 
remember that in relaxed moments it was his whim to speak barely above 
a whisper and that at times of decision he would use a tone of intimidating 
quiemess. ‘Because I say so’, confirming a challenged private verdict, was 
likely to be said in the mincing way of a self-righteous maiden aunt. 
Colonel (later Sir) Arthur Holbrook, of Portsmouth, coached him in style 
and in topics, but before long, in place of speech ma^g,he was finding it 
more satisfactory to both sides for him to invite questions from the 
audience and to give individual and informal replies. He faced his in- 
terrogators about lower deck conations, dockyard discharges, Indian 
troopship deficiencies. local voices uttering local grievances, with an 
assurance which owed more to nerve dun to knowledge. At one of the 

X84 



THE SIEGE OF PORTSMOUTH 

meetings his instinct for gauging the pnbUc mind failed him. He gave .t 
out that he was strongly in favour of men being commissioned bunt the 
lower ranks, ‘If we don’t do it now, a time will come when we shall be 
glad to do it.’ Agitation from the chairman drew him aside for a P'*™™ 

consultation. ‘For God’s sake, don’t say that.' Holbrook whspeted The e 

chaps hate the idea of not being officered by gentlemm! Primed by Hol- 
brook, he spoke out strongly against the resmenons of the drii* trade and 
demanded that the brewers should be rchevedof some of then 
This involvedhimin an unexpected hack-of-the-hall altermnon. A hecUer 
lose up with the question; ’Don’t you publish a lot “fSP'"’ 
Hatmswoith answered: 'I do-and I’m proud of tht’i T>ie vo'ce con 

tinued: Ts one of them called T/ie Siinduy Compiwiionl a iss , 

reply. 'It’s one of the best.’ The voice was ‘“c 

■Didn’t you say in that paper last week that the dnnk trade is the “"e ol 
,he 2 a ,l„r no Auhlicau CIO be a Chitstiani Pausing and then 


mow. i m not tne editor, i ve not seen the issue ‘ [‘"“Ij”' 

the editor’s name was printed on the font cover *=1 ““‘'g 

jealousy among the firm’s other editors who were oh g 
the traditional anonymity of their kind. ..n un- 

On the eve of the poll, a prominent Pottsmouth f'B”' “ “ 
expected platform appearance on behalf of the D^tra pp • 

Dolling was an An|lican priest whose devoted g 

Winchester School Mission at St. Agatha $, Lan P , ’ jj j ti^jck-set 
large and loyal following in the dockyards. A broa - j ^ whose 
County DoU man. whose fatlacr xvas of Huguenot 
methei had Scots and North of 

Dolhng had worked as a land agcntin Ire «nffrintr the Church 

Cambndge. From boyhood he had been mten on 
of England and before being ordained, at the age of thirty-four. g 
himself unsuntingly to the service of Lon 1?°, V j ^ point of 
From Alfred Harmsworth’s diary wc 1^ that ^ had mauc^ 
calling on Dolhng early in the Portsmouth catnp - - oreanization. 
services at Sc. Agatha’s. He noted Dolling $ unusual g g . 

ispW in all Lt he undertook. 'He -t f y ^ h°w thing 
to be done. He was able to make the m ..ntraf fjcurc of a great 

I^ollmg’s last- minute i"""?"”"" a' Koyti oSyeVnS T o 

open-air meeting. He appealed to the deserve to have 

spilt their votes. ‘If you cut respected his sclf- 

a vote again.’ They respected his fqithng ■ .nokesman promised 

saentlcing work for them and their P^P '■ , ^ broke up svith 

that they would vote ‘straight and sohd B paiticularly 

'■olleymg cheers for the speaker of the evening. He had been p 



NOHTHOJFFE 


concerned co secure support for the patty favouring licensing restrictions. 
Amjd the eleetjon exatement, Ae appearance of a priest espousing the 
Liberal Party, for one of whose candidates he had signed the nomination 
form, passed without the wider notice it might othc^^vise have received. 
FoUosvmg DoUing's appeal, AlfrcdHarmsworthmadewhat Lord Edmund 
Talbot, one of his official supporters, afterwards described as ‘a last forlorn 
effort’ to speak to the dockyard men. He had little success. 

Polling was on July i6, the day after Alfred's thirtieth birthday. The 
four candidates. Sir John Baker, clodiicr, and Walter Owen Clough, cloth 
manufacturer, for the Liberals, and the Hon. Evelyn Ashley, son of the 
Earl of Shaftesbury, and Alfred Harmsworth, for the Conservatives, were 
driven around the losvn in open carriages. Bands paraded the streets, 
followed by throngs of children released from school for the day. ‘Went 
to the Tosvn Hall in the evening’ is written in Alfred’s diary, ‘when the 
result was declared against Ashley and 1 [s/rj, the figures being; Baker 
10,451, Clough 10,455, Harmsworth 9.717, Ashley 9,567.’ Quoting the 
figures for the previous election, he added as a gesture to lus sclf^tecm; 
‘So 1 polled mote than the svirming man in 1892.’ Ashley had been ‘hope- 
less’ as a candidate, it was said by his supporters. They agreed it svas he 
who lost the election for the Patty. The speeches of the successful Glad- 
stonian candidates after the dedaration of the poll at the Tosvn Hall were 
hitter against the opposition. Their animosity was clearly directed at the 
youngest and least experienced candidate and his methods. T don’t wish 
to have your congratulations,’ snapped one of them, Clough, when Alfred 
Harmsworth, in his speech, made courteous remarks about him. ‘That 
may be your way of accepting victory,’ Alfred retorted. Tt would not be 
mine.’ For the Libcrab, Portsmouth was a rock in a tempestuous sea. In 
the rest of the country they suffered heavily and the new Parliament 
assembled with a Conservative and Libera! Unionist majority of 152. 
Alfred Harmsworth had no place in it but Portsmouth had compensated 
for his disappointment by giving him the friendship of Robert Dolling. 
Together during the next few years they were to bring hope and happiness 
into many drab young lives. 

'At my ace a defeat does one good. Too much success in life is bad for 
one, AlfrcQ remarked when the Portsmouth result had bcai given out. 
‘Besides,’ he added, half seriously, 'my place is in the House of Lords 
where they don’t ficht clcctiom.* Summing up the campaign, one of the 
Portsmouth journalists wotc: ‘Harmswortli nearly wore us out.’ He 
returned at once to London, where in the rush to overtake arrears of 
work and decision he had no great difficult)' in forgetting his defeat. 
The experience had made it clear to him, and to those around him, that 
he had none of the parts that go to the making of a success in politics. Hts 
dislike of public speaking was joined to a preference for action which could 
186 



NORTHCUFFE 

ment when wolves were discussed’. Hiis pcntsting boyishness was attrac- 
uve and enviable. The sense of fun that went with it made a good im- 
pression but it was not easily turned inward. He laughed at himselt only 
at the prompting of others, usually women, when it was a ^tter o 
amour-propre. He had a preference for the immature sort of joke ^ 

the leg-pull but did not like having his own leg pulled. Two Edison Be 
gramophone records, one of sneezmg, the other of snoring, were capab e 
of reduemg him to helpless laughter long after they had ceased to amuse 
anyone else. _ . . /• 

As editor of Answers, he had absorbed a bewildering miscellany o 
factual information and, hke the average of his readers, he had little sense 
of the relation of things. He was almost entirely without the powr o 
sustained thought or of abstraction. In Hazlitt’s words, he saw his 
always near, never on the homon. Caught by an idea, he was rapable o 
the mental leaps of genius. In circumstances requiring reasoned iscussion 
he was given to lapsmg into silence, often construed as the brooding ot an 
intellect which he did not possess. He was acutely responsive to the living 
minute. For him it was a new world every day. By now he was 
in his habit of walking quickly, eating quickly, talking quicUy. b" 
metabolism, it seemed, was geared toa fundament^ anxiety. Speculatively, 
one recalls here the abrupt displacement ftom the attention of his mother 
by her rapid childbearing. Only a catastrophic sense of dismay, it sw^is, 
could have fashioned the psychic bond that made him her adori^ 

'This IS our day’, he would write, cable or telephone on his birthday, iw 
deference to her was as complete in opinion as in sentiment. So protoun 
an attachment meant that he could never give himself fully to any ot e 
person and those who were enticed into intimacy wth him were apt t 
suffer from his mercurial interpretation of that state. That, increasing y, 
he seemed to be a lonely figure was not wholly due to his pubBc eminence. 


190 



THE SIEGE OF tORTSMOUTH 
lu,dly have tolerated long debates 

easily have aceommodated Rhodes’s avenion from 

was the cross-bench temperament. He Rhodes may 

'tlic purely parliamentary type of man, m g ^ ,i,» parliamentary man 

havc^escited the fact ^ in a democ^. « « lif, 

who has the ultimate power. Therttfic , editor of The Fort- 

appears to have been that of Jolm '^..i If t^vcnty-five members 

n/?/ii!y Rei^iew, considered himself to be the equal of tsventy 

o^Parliament. , ^ .-purce for which he had 

Why, then, did he divert time r ^vhen we realize that 

so little aptitude? The question mark 1 would make him a 

he had already committed himself to a expect to be as a Member 

more formidable national figure ^n he m g of starting 

of Parliament. ‘Our next scheme is a ‘“"y If It . j written to Cecil and 
in Mnury’, r,„o.i„g from Ac In November. Hnrold had 

Leicester on their world tour m Octob .(• 4,. j,gxt County Council 

tvrittentohimi'Thenewrasmmtbcom^^^^^^^ Jte a big 

elections, wliich are due about ' 5 * . ^ .H„old and Lilian dined 

fight.' In his diary for December « Alfred^ . ^,^„lnlc, tire 

vtdih us and we drafted the P'“ a OTallinsigbt into provincial 

SoHf/imi Ddily Afdil 'vas gii^g die witliouc its effect on their 

newspaper publishing wlfuch 1 ^? Alfred’s possession until 1907, when 
later acuvitics. The paper casting of accounts, he received 

it was volunurily liquidated. At the final os b 

^ election against a background of 

Alfred had fought the I’f jt tlie end of Uic mmpaign. 

wavenng health states wliich , Lj reason for the diary note, 

close to a breakdown. That was doctor from London) came to 

a few days before the election: Mutrea I ^ alcogctiicr . 

sec me.’ ‘Dr Ravai said 1 must ‘Elmwood’ and ‘pottering 

the diary recorded on July - indication that he had taken ilic 
about the carden’ recur m the diary as 
doctor’s advice. 


. e - .,1 the Bcht of die Hamuwortlu lucky sur. 
'K.J.'. N-isuahnne hu future 1 a chain of halfpenny morning 

urged on Alfred the idea o 1*^ ‘Sclicmo hlagnifico’ again, 

papers m the num „d for Alfred llicrc was still a residue 

tratuferred to the ncsvspar«* J J publiilung concept of his. Jones’s 

of mipiratjon in tlut sweep P. ^^ljourcc.TlicGaieTalPou Office 
keenness lud a mote . Xj,ncs to newspapers between 6 p.m. and 

wai pranung ’private w^r«‘ 



NORTHCUFFE 


ment when wolves were discussed’. This persisting boyishness svas attrac- 
tive and enviable. The sense of fun that went with it made a good im- 
pression but it was not easily turned inward. He laughed at himself only 
at the prompting of others, usually women, when it was a matter of 
amour-propre. He had a preference for the immature sort of joke known as 
the leg-pull but did not like havmg his own leg pulled. Two Edison Bell 
gramophone records, one of sneezing, the other of snoring, were capable 
of reduemg him to helpless laughter long after they had ceased to amuse 
anyone else. 

As editor of Answers, he had absorbed a bewildering miscellany of 
factual information and, like the average of his readers, he had little sense 
of the relation of things. He was almost entirely without the power of 
sustained thought or of abstraction. In Hazlitt’s words, he saw his objects 
always near, never on the horizon. Caught by an idea, he was capable of 
the mental leaps of genius. In drcumscances requiring reasoned discussion 
he was given to lapsing into silence, often construed as the brooding of an 
intellect which he did not possess. He was acutely responsive to the living 
minute. For him it was a new world every day. By now he was confirmed 
in his habit of walking quickly, eating quickly, talking quickly. His 
metabolism, it seemed, was geared toa fondamenul anxiety. Speculatively, 
one recalls here the abrupt dispUcement from the attention of his mother 
by her rapid childbearing. Only a catastrophic sense of dismay, it seems, 
could have fashioned the psychic bond that made him her adoring slave. 
‘This is our day', he would write, cable or telephone on his birihtuy. His 
deference to her was as complete in opinion as in sentiment. So profound 
an attachment meant that he could never give himself fully to any other 
person and those who were etioccd into intimacy with him were apt to 
suffer from his mercurial interpretation of that state. That, increasingly, 
he seemed to be a lonely figure was not wholly due to his public eminence. 


190 



NORTHCUFFE 


merit when wolves were discussed’, "niis persisting boyishness was attrac- 
tive and enviable. The sense of fim dut went with it made a good im- 
pression but it was not easdy turned inward. He laughed at himself only 
at the prompting of others, usually womai, when it was a matter of 
amour-propre. He had a preference for the immature sort of joke known as 
the leg-pull but did not like having his own leg pulled. Two Edison BeU 
gramophone records, one of sneezing, die other of snoring, were capable 
of reducing him to helpless laughter long after they had ceased to amuse 
anyone else. 

As editor of Answers, he had absorbed a bewildering miscellany of 
factual information and, like the average of his readers, he had little sense 
of the relation of things. He was almost entirely without the power of 
sustained thought or of abstraction. In Hazlitt’s words, he saw Hs objects 
always near, never on the horizon. Caught by an idea, he was capable of 
the mental leaps of genius. In circumstances requiring reasoned discussion 
he was given to lapsing into silence, often construed as the brooding of an 
intellect which he did not possess. He was acutely responsive to the living 
minute. For him it was a new world every day. By now he was confirmed 
in his habit of walking quickly, eatmg quickly, talking quickly. His 
metabolism, it seemed, was geared toa fundamental anxiety. Speculatively, 
one recalls here the abrupt msplaccmcnt from the attention of his mother 
by her rapid childbearing. Only a catastrophic sense of dismay, it seems, 
wuld have fashioned the psychic bond that made him her adoring slave. 
‘This is our day’, he would write, cable or telephone on his bitthtuy. His 
deference to her was as complete in opinion as in sentiment. So profound 
an attachment meant that he could never give himself fully to any other 
person and those who were enticed into inurmey ivith him were apt to 
suffer from his mercunal interpreurion of that state. That, increasingly, 
he seemed to be a lonely figure was not wholly due to his public eminence. 


190 



NORTHCUFFE 

zine’ was described as 
the mere news of the 
greater novelty. The 

ments. Its back page ^ . ..... 

Bovril, Dr Tibbies’ Vi-Cocoa, Etard Pianos and Krog s Patoit Malted 
Food for Horses, the latter looking like a joke drawing from Comxc 

'^Adfred Harmsworth’s diary reported that the moment of the birth of 
the Daily Mail had been reached only ‘after a severe stmggle and with 
many misgivings’. Up till then, newspapers had been folded by hand, 
usually by tlie newsagents’ womenfolk. In many middle-class 
it was the maid’s first momuig duty to take in the paper with the ii^ 
and iron the fold in readiness for the master s descent to breakfast. 6 
new Daily Mail printing presses had a mechanical folding device, concern- 
ing which the two suppliers of the presses, Foster of Preston and Hoe o 
London, came into legal conflict about patent rights. According to a 
printing trade paper, the threat of an injunction hung over the Daily A 
that first night. There were other difficulties. The London wholcwlc 
newsagents were not satisfied with the Harmsworths’ terms. A deputation 
was sent to the office. Tempers ran high, with the distributors on one sice 
and Alfred Harmswocth and Kennedy Jones on the other, before a settle- 
ment was reached. r il » 

The first copy of the Daily Mail to come off the machines was fotm^y 
handed by the head printer to Alfred Harmsworth, who autographed it 
and lud it sent at once by messenger to his motliet at 112 
He signed about a hundred other copies for members of the staff. Slept 
at the Salisbury’, in Salisbury Square, Fleet Street, his diary tells us. A dit- 
ferent account appeared in The Rise of the Daily Mail (1916)- I did nM 
leave the office for the first two days and nights, and then went home an 
slept for twenty-four hours,’ Yet another version was given by S't 
Winston Chmchill: T remember lunching at Londonderry House on c 
day the Daily Mail first came out, and Aimed Harmsworth sat as me gues 
of honour at a very small party.’ That occasion is not entered in 
where we read: ‘A big success, 1 think, bigger than was anticipated. So 
390,000 copies. Letters and telegrams of congratulation pouring in 
debut of the Daily Mail.’ He had anticipated a sale of 100,000, whi e 
hoping for 150,000. 

Number i of the Daily Mail was not the first issue of that newspaper 
to be produced, though it was die first to be published. There is at e 
British Museum a token issue dated February 15, 1896, a slip bearing ^ 
name of the paper, for copyright, and some Stock Exchange prices. 
Between that date and May 4, sixty-five experimental four-page issues 
were printed, unknown to me public and, for that nutter, to most pcop c 


‘a practical attempt to provide something more than 
day'. Another secdoti was ‘Women’s Realm , a still 
paper’s front page was filled with small advertisc- 
oroclaimcd in ugly black-Ictter type the merits of 




One of the •trial-nin’ 


edidons of the Daily Mail 



NORTHCmTE 

jnd around Fleet Street, rvliere there were r^ng waVK “f >P^‘- 
non about what was going on at 2 Carmelite Street, do\TO by the nver. 
When nawier were teen at tvorl there togig out the 

someone remarked; ■That'UbethegraveoftheHarmswortlis netvpaper. 

It proved to be a pit for the old joutinlism. 1.. , ,,,ir 

No newspaper was more carefully planned. During eleven wceU 
went through the motions of getting out a succession of 
The nucleus of a news and cable service had already been established. 
Offices were opened in Paris and New York Reporters went out on 
‘stories' which none but themicives and their colleagues would read. There 
was special training fot the subv-vemaculat for suh-cditoiwm the art ol 
cutting doivn vetbosity. the coise of the older newspapers. They svere the 
foretimnets of a new race of Fleet Street craftsmen. Before 1 896, nc™ 'va 
commonly printed as it came in, its importance judged by its lengffi- ri' 
77ie Tim?j the nukc-up of the news pages was left to the discretion ot 0 
head printer. Harmsworth would have none of that. Also, as an cssen 
part of his trial-runs, ‘copy’ was set up by the new linotype mac un«. 
The rehearsals had required the paper to go to press with the wmc 
efficiency as if it were being put on sale next mommg. To shield ik 
character from too inquisitive cj'cs. misleading features were 
the make-up. The paper’s ode was set in Roman capitals mstcad ol tn 
intended Old English. As publication day drew nearer, a touch o' 
ness appeared. ‘A /i.ooo note would not purchase this copy of the unny 
Alfred Harmsworth later explained: ’Wc were all somewhat over- 
wrought by a fortnight’s final work.’ Copies of the rehearsal issues \vcr 
sneaked into rival ncsvspaper offices. The strategy was apparently cficcnvc. 
“The Harmssvorths’ nesv rag hasn’t a diancc.’ There were less impciuom 
opinions. To some it seemed that young Harmsworth had me MidW 
touch, that he could not go wrong, that he had but to say '^bich 
he would follow and the svay was made mysteriously clear for him. i 
income for 1896 was ^41, 2^. At Coutts’ Dank, in the Strand, 
had opened his main personal account in iBpt, he was now received y 
one of the partnen, instead of a manager, as before. ^ 

Daiiy Mail was not the first choice oftume. ‘Arrow’, 'Express . Hcral , 
had been chalked on the blackboard in the bungalow at 
'Arrow' svas Alfred's first preference. He believed in one-word 
faith in them confirmed by his experience with Answers. Kennedy Jon 
claimed to have converted him to Deity Mail, which had long been m use 
in the provinces. Leicester Harmsworth told Alfred how, as an Answers 
representative in Birmingham, he had heard the newsboys there mouung 
‘Mail !’ as they sped through the streets with their supplies of the Dirmtti£- 
kam Daily ^^ail and how he thought then that it was ‘a good 
cr>' for Smiths' bo)V. Rnally, Alfn^ wrote his verdict on the buckboar 

196 



MAY 4, 1896 

Daily Mail, It was seen there for some years after. The word ‘Mail’ by 
itself, he told Leicester, ‘gave no clue to die periodic character of the paper’. 
Soon, hoardings in London and die Home Counties flared daily mail in 
bold yellow letters on a blue ground. According to Kennedy Jones, 
experiment had shown that diose two coloun were the least susceptible 
to the changing light of day. For that reason, he said, he chose them as 
his racing colours when the Doily Mail made him rich enough to own a 
stable. He claimed also to have suggested the date of the paper’s first 
appearance. ‘I was bom on May 4. It was an early ambition of mine that 
it ever I helped to found a newspaper it should be bom on my birthday. 
Fortune favoured.* Leicester Hatmsworth said that in choosing the first 
week of May, his brother had been influenced by a less sentimental con- 
sideration. ‘News was always more prolific at the opening of the London 
season.’ 

Before any new Hatmsworth publication came out, it was Alfred’s 
custom to hold a round-table talk about it with Harold, Cecil, Leicester 
and Hildebrand. A message from him: ‘Be at Sweetings’ at one-thirty for 
a chat’, meant that there was something more important than the menu 
to discuss. The ‘chars’ were rarely held at the office. Sometimes the 
younger brothers were summoned to Broadstairs. When the Daily Mail 
moved to the top of the agenda, Harold was less often present. The other 
brothers were aware that, as between the two eldest, business discussions 
had become a contest in which Alfred’s ideas about journalism were 
joined with Harold’s about economy. Engrossed in his newest venture, 
Alfred had let Hatold work his will on the periodicals, not always with 
happy results, In their early alks about the Daily Mail, Harold had urged 
the use of tinted paper because it was cheaper than white. Alfred sum- 
marily banished the idea: ‘They'll think we're another sporting sheet.' He 
and Harold had already been in disagreement over the same matter in 
regard to the Evening Neivs, which printed its later editions on pink paper. 
His attitude now stiffened. From the fint he had planned to print the 
Dmly Mail on good white paper. It would flatter the halfpenny newspaper 
reading public. He may also nave bad in view the growing use ofillustra- 
tions m nesvspapers. For that, white paper was a practietd necessity. 

In consequence, Harold’s part in starting the Daily Mail was little more 
than that of a newsprint buyer, though he had supervisory powers over 
the business management. A state of dissent had developed in which 
Aftred not only asserted freedom of action but beame secretive about it. 
Leicester Harmsworth said: ‘The chief reason for Alfred’s monopoly of 
decision regarding the new paper %vas his fear of Harold's ideas of 
economy. Alfred planned great expenditure on foreign telegrams and the 
getting of news m general. Harold, he had no doubt, would work against 
such a policy’, and, using an iatermediaty, Harold did so. 


197 



NORTHCUFFE 


Alfred, then, was the sole fotmder of the D«ly Math % 

Daily Paper' headed a display annooncement signed A. C- Harmwo 
in d'lisims early that year. He wrote m diary for May l8, ™ 
after the paper had started pubUcation: Haro d came to the office lint 
time for weeks.’ In later years. Harold was in the habit of spcakmg of the 
Daily Mail as ‘really an afterthought’, the result of the morning paper 
fxoerimce which Alfred and he hti gidned in Glasgow. He Ignored the 
long gestating period disclosed in Alfred’s dcry and in 
to Ce^cil and Leicester dutmg their world tout of 1894. Jje 

Alfred had told E™i,.i Neias shareholders .1. November 1898 ffiat tte 
Ennmg N,m had been bought ’with a view to the eventual cstabhshment 

‘’^■Ihvc£f^ys‘"brfore the advemsed publication date, anoffier nesv 
morning paper appeared, the penny Daily Cmirier. The pat * ° v 
and Hamsworth had crossed a«in. In the field of dally J»n“ 
Newnes had been well ahead of Hatmswotth, as he had been with ws 
Tit-Bits. His evening Wastmiitsttr Gazette, printed m good dipt type on 
hi,- -xr/>«rrt>m rtf udne the Doorlv lit suburban 


Tit-Bits. His evening iVtslmifister pruuru m ‘-.'T' 7^, i _ 

green paper to temper the eyestrain of reacts using the POO»y * . 

frains, had come out on Janmry JJ. 1893. a thought^, well-wnttm 


trains, had come out on January 31, icvj. 

newspaper published in the Liberal interest. His Datly Couner, • 

made no submission to popular taste and rumours that it *0 
Ae Daily Mail were soon discounted. Seeing the first issue, Alircd n ^ 
worth was not much impressed. He thought it tatb®r a 
sixteen paces were of the site and make-up of a weekly review. * 
the matKS of amateur inspiration. Its editor, W. Earl Hodgson, ^ 
magaainc journalist who had worked on Blathwood’s. He was said to ha 
required ms sub-editots to transform every paragraph into a gem 
literature. An advertisement for the Dai7y Courier appeared in the secon 
issue of the Daily Mail: 'An Imporunt New Departure in 
ism.’ Soon, departure was seen to be the operative \yord. The aty 
Jt, Annuo t nraopivnrtliv. jmnracticablc essay m news- 


Courier stopped in August, a praiseworthy, impracticable essay m news- 
OtJy its size endured, perpetuated in the tabloid 
^ iS C. J - .J.-m-rpnee Ot 


paper production. Only its size endured, perpctuatca m uic 
papers to come. As a newspaper experiment it confirmed a ^crcncc o 
character between Newnes and Harmsworth. Both made .. . 

takes. Newnes’s were touched with idealism. His Daily Courier had tt e 
cliancc of success. His IVeslminster Gazette was read by an intelligen 
public which did not know that he was losing between ;C5>^ 
^to.ooo a year to keep it gcring, his total loss being ^(jioo.ooo. Harms- 
worth had (lis quixoric moods, too, but he was scared of bad luck. 

There was nothing to startle the attention in his new daily, design 
though it was to be of ‘the greatest interest to the greatest number . Yet 
its crisply edited news pages seemed to reflect a sense of the adventure 0 


10 tbc 1, ord *tablMd* on p*gc 206. 



MAY 4 , 1896 

living at the dawn of a new century. To a printer's eye it had more ‘white’ 
in it than was usual among ncwspapcn then. To a visitor from New 
York, it might have been more tham a casual reminder of Charles A. 
Dana’s Swt, which had been &r ahead in the art of news condensation. 
Anything more depressing to contemplate than a page of any of the penny 
papers ... it would be difficult to imagine. No one with a 2est for news or 
views could face those rows of solid columns of the smallest print. It would 
be true on the whole to say that Alfred Harmsworth changed all that.’ 
The passage is quoted from the autobiography of Wilson Harris, for 
twenty years editor of The Spectator, sometime Independent Member of 
Parliament for Cambridge University. Concerning the ‘solid columns of 
uninteresting matter’, the Fleet Street trade journal, Newspaper Owner and 
Manager, stated that ‘even the correctors of the press have yawned as they 
have dealt with it*. Sir John Robinson, for many years editor of the Daily 
Neios (now News ChronieJe), wrote: ‘As regards opinions, the cheap press 
does not differ greatly from the dear press that preceded it. In every other 
respect it is immeasurably superior.’ 

On May 4, 1896, leading articles in The TrWs filled 81 inches of space, 
in the Daily Telegraph 32 inches, in the Aferin'n^ Post 53 inches, in the Daily 
Chronicle 35 in^cs and in the Daily News 41J inches. The Daily Mail 
leading articles for the same day filled 17 inches, divided into four short 
topics. It was a radical change of practice, involving office arguments 
which nearly ended in leading articles being dropped altogether. The 
matter was in doubt until Friday of that first week, when it was decided 
that the paper needed a platform from which, as Kennedy Jones said, ‘to 
explain me drift of events’. A few months later an article in the West'- 
minster Review, headed ‘The Decline of the Leader', mentioned that ‘even 
Tile Times has recently come out on occasion wth one leader only’, an 
example soon widely copied. That vulgar little halfpenny paper’, despised 
particularly by the Yorkshire Post, had successfully defied an august tradi- 
uon, principally sustained thereafter by the long and often admirable 
front-page leaders ofj. A. Spender in the Westminster Gazette. 

Contemporary critics of the new cult of brevity missed the obviou' 
objecnon, its tendency to confuse inddcnls svith events. Instead, they 
dwelt on its bad effect on parliamenUry reporting. Up to the coming of 
the Daily Mail, leading politicians could count on their speeches being 
printed f« extciiso. Spender remembered newspapers which gave ‘solid 
pages ofParfi'ament to which were atfdWsoiti pages ofpfaf/biTn orafory’ 
(The Piihlic Life, 1925). For that practice it could be claimed that it helped 
to steady such public opinion as existed. But the new classes of reader, 
who had been enfranchised by the Tliird Reform Bill of tsvelvc years 
before, had no use for the long speeches which filled the newspaper 
columns. ‘To report parliament at length, or even to report it fairly at all. 


199 



NORTIICUFFE 


was to bore and estrange them.’* nicrcafter, who sard it and how it was 
said were to be matters of more public curiosity than what was said, in 
and out of parliament. Harmsworth journalism changed tlie relationship 
of press and public. It destroyed die old enlightened view that reason 
would prevail. The argument of the leading article gave way to the 
comment of the paragraph. 

Rather less vulnerable to the hostility of the older grandiose school was 
Alfred Harmsworth ’s insistence on simplification, on first paragraphs 
which at least gave a chic to what followed, on illustrating foreign news 
by maps, always for the readers’ convenience. His order was ‘Explain, 
simphty, clarify!' Foreign currency figures must be made clear in English 
money terms. Foreign language quotations were discouraged. A staff 
svritcr who used the phrase fait attompU in an article found it asterisked 
next morning in the paper, with a footnote supplied by die proprietor: 
‘Mr Hands means “accomplished fact’’.' He objected to slang. 'Omnibus 
was not allowed to appear as ‘bus’. 

The new types of su^ditot whom Alfred Harmsworth had caused to 
be specially trained in his paper’s ‘style’ were held ruthlcsdy to their task 
of making many paragraphs where few were used before. He had seen 
what odicf editors had not, that for the jostled travelling reader paragraphs 
were necessary signposts. He also insisted that the paper’s regular features 
should appear in uic same place day after day. ‘Readers must know where 
to find what they want.’ For the first time, large numbers of City-bound 
readers could be sure of having a good grasp ofthc day’s news by the tinie 
their morrung journey \vas done. There were no long columns of matter 
to be got through in a hurry or to be uken home for perusal at night. It 
was a refreshing change in me rouanc of newspaper reading. 

Still more important for the Harmsworth future was Alfred’s belief that 
women could be induced to become newspaper readers. The penny papers 
had mostly ignored their special interests. It followed from his personal 
psychology, as well as from his previous publishing experience, that 
women would figure widi great prominence in the immense new circula- 
tion vistas that were unfolding before him. 

Movements in women’s world — that u to say, changes in dress, toilet matters, 
cookery, and home matters generally— ate as much entitled to receive attention 
as nine out of ten of the matters wludi arc treated of in the ordinary daily 
paper. Therefore two columns are set aside exclusively for ladies. 

That mildly expressed dcchtation of Daily Mail policy mtglit have been 
lifted from Home Chat, Behind it dieic was a dash of views beween 
Alfred and ‘K.J.’. Jones was at fint against what he called the unnecessary 
* R C K. Easor, Snglamf (Cbccwlon Press). 


200 



NORTHCIIFEE 


sacrifice of space to domestic mtitters, though he recanted later. For the 
moment, he wanted more space to be ^vcn to racing, his favourite sport; 
there were few days on which he did not have a bet. Alfred had no in- 
terest m racing then or after. He retoned by ordering an improvement in 
the tone of the racing news and notes already appearing in the paper. At 
that time, the quality of racing journalism in genera] was poor, Alfred’s 
intervention resulted m considerable changes for the better. He invented 
the pseudonym of ‘Robin GoodfeUow' in the Daily Mail, a racing name 
still respected in the sporting world. He reformed the City page, ordering 
a newly appointed City editor, Charles Duguid, to ‘make a page that is 
independent and interesting’. Till then. City journalism had been neither; 
it had consisted of the publication of prospectuses and company reports 
without comment or cntidsm, except tor die ‘puffs’ of promoters’ agents. 
The investing public had been given almost no guidance or protection. 
The Daily Mail revealed the news in company prospectuses and share 
dealings, ft changed the character and improved the quality of financial 
joum^sm. 

Alfred Harmsworth had armounced the Daily Mail as 'the busy man’s 
paper’, a slogan which he primed day by day in the little spaces called 
*eats‘ on either side of the title at the top of the front page. He was opposed 
to newspapers published in the clubman tradition. They affronted sym- 
pathies crystallized in his relationship with his mother. Installed by that 
time as the chatelaine of a fine tovm mansion, 2 Great Cumberland Place, 
Marble Arch, she was an arbiter whose judgments touched the lives of fat 
more people than had ever heard of her. The critics of the Harmsworth 
revolution all overlooked the truth that ‘woman appeal' was the heart and 
soul of it. 


Among the messages which Alfred Harmsworth received on ‘that glorious 
May morning’ — description ‘K.]’s’ — was one from Mr Gladstone. He 
had assisted the fame of Mrs Humplircy Ward’s novel, Robert Elsmere, by 
writing an article on it in The ConlemporarY Review. His commendation 
of the Diary of Marie Baskkirlseff hid aho gone forth to the world. His 
telegram to Alfred Harmsworth: The Daily Mail appears to be a most 
interesting experiment to which I give my lieartiest good ivishes, may not have 
been meant to be taken in the same testimonial sense, though Answers had 
^ways been immensely respectful to him. His message was conspicuously 
'played up’ in the paper. A. J. Balfour, who professed not to read news- 
papers, wrote privately of his Tiigh appreciation’. Knowing the skill, 
energy and resources available to the Daily Mail, he said, he could not 
doubt its success. ‘You have taken die lead in newspaper enterprise and 


202 



Monday 4 (125-24') 




rv^/tt- tUit A f»~4^ 


/v-t > -D ■ 


Duty entry for May 4, 1894. tUcmed by Alfred Hatmtwortb to Sutton 


both you and the Patty are to bo heatuly congratulated , Aou^K he 
Conservative Party would not invariably find aid and comfort m the 
Daily Afa/I of the years to come. There TO also a “''e'*"* P™™S » 
wonirful halfpenrlyworrh'. It was signed •Ncwnesh Alfied 
would have been not less gr.tifirf to know that 

Labouchere) of T,«th “ y’ he £d put it down 

morning in ms rooms at 5 Ulo raucc laru adju u r 

with the prophecy: ‘This psp^c will go. <^-»v 

Returning to 2e office on the afternoon of that first ^ 

•K.J.’ noted with sans&ctton that the 
---rescuing their^^^^ 

Ermhhu way tLugh'^acrowdo^ 

The paring macMncs of the Daily Afad could ‘ mhlued 3S 

whict totalled 397.2. S copies and TO not &r short of the 

of the Loudon penny papers. The ^'Sfmtj^The 

circulation salf had gone into acnon on >>*^1 f 

presses of three other newspapers were standmg ^c luve Itonrfy 

fo„eshwordforir,harAlfred~Am»™^-^^^^^ 

to savour the begmmngs ol a success wuiwi « v 



NORTHCUFFE 


weather. It had been a day of brilliant sunshine, flooding London with 
the zest of spnng. ‘It is a singular feet,' Al&cd wrote not long after, 'that 
every one of the Harmsworthjoumals has been blessed by a fine opemng 
day.’ Without venturing to regard it as a dispensation of providence, he 
avowed that it counted for a good dcaL ‘Well, how goes itf he was 
asked by Kennedy Jones, who bad hem given a seven and a half per cent 
interest in the new paper. ‘Orders still pouring in,’ Alfred told him. 
‘We’ve struck a gold mine.’ 

Alfred Harmsworth’s instinctive judgment had flared up in a master- 
stroke of divination. Mentally, he was allied to the mass of his readers, 
but he was enormously more active within that range. He knew what the 
people wanted because their prejudices were his own. Backing his certainty 
that a newspaper is the creation of its time and environment was a realistic 
acknowledgment of the fact that the costs of production had been brought 
down by the new wood pulp makir^ processes and the arrival of mechani- 
cal typesetting. Newsprint nad only once been cheaper in the previous 
ten years. It was now /it a ton. He summarized the position as he saw 
it in i 89 < 5 : ‘On going thoroughly into the ^ s. d. question it became deaf 
that most of the existing dadies were really halfpennyworths sold at a 
penny. The proprietors had simply pocketed the diflVxence instead of 
sharing the advantage with die public.’ 

There was no novelty in publishing the Daily Mail at a halfpenny. A 
number of provincial dailies been published at a halfpenny and for a 
short time mere had been a halfpenny morning version of The Echo, one 
of London’s evening papers. In the r88os. The Times had published The 
Summary at a halfpenny, withdrawing it after twelve months. The Mortiin? 
had been published at a halfpenny in May i8p2, beating the new half- 
penny Morrting Leader by two days in a race to reach the news-stands first. 
Pardy because their news services were not so well organized as Harms- 
worth’s, they did not succeed with the pubbe and the identity of The 
Morning was absorbed by the Daily Rxpress. while the Afornfn^ Leader, 
which was ahead of its rivals in the use ofillustradom, is embalmed with 
the Daily News in the vaults of the News Chronicle. There were those who 
believed that just as Alfred Haimsworth had taken his idea for Answers 
from Tit-BUs, the Daily Mail owed its inspiration to those two defunct 
halfpenny papers. The originality of the Daily Mail was in its enterprise, 
in its policy of giving a poinyworth for a halfpenny. Better value — that 
was the secret of Harmsworth’s success. He could not see why the news 
agencies should be looked on as die main fount of news supply, why so 
many of the world’s cities and towns were never ‘date-lined’ in the news 
columns, why the only news to come out of America was about cyclones. 

In his resolve to make a better newspaper he was drawing on his experi- 
ence with the Evening News. Taking over that paper, he made the dis- 


204 



MAY 4 , 1896 

covery tKat newspaper sales were subject to extraordinary ups and downs. 
Some days, sales would rise for no obvious reason. On other days, there 
would be an equally unaccountable £dl. Tltc news of the smashing of the 
Spanish fleet off Santiago during the Spanish-American war of 1898 did 
not sell a single extra copy of the Evening News, which had gone to con- 
siderable expense in maxing special cable arrangements via New York. 
The battle of Omdurman, which made Kitchener a popular idol, was not 
a selling cry for the Daily Mail newsboys and neither was the great 
Dreyfus trij. Public feeling responded mote reliably to the news of the 
death of Gladstone, which sold many extra editions. Alfred also recorded 
that sports news, for which readers had shown an insatiable appetite over 
two or three years, suffered a slump in 1899. Those often mysterious 
fluctuations brought their own problems. The answer, as he saw it, was 
to provide a consistently interesting newspaper which would steady the 
public demand. Hence the growth of the ‘feature’ journalism of the 
modem newspaper. He wrote that it was his ‘good luck’ that the older 
newmapers gave no sign of occupying the position which he had staked 
out for his paper. 'Their lack ofinitiativc and their subservience to Party 
was a direct invitation to the assault administered by the Daily Mail on 
Monday, May 4, 1896.' It was part of his good luck that the opposition 
of the distributing trade to hal^nny newspapers was by then losing its 
force. 

Reviewing his paper’s early progress, he implied that the strategy of 
deception employed during the rehearsal period was carried over into the 
first months of the paper’s existence. London Letters, appearing in the pro- 
vincial press, suggested that ‘because of heavy losses the price of the Daily 
Mail will be raised to a penny . The riimours were not denied. They may 
have been inspired. Alfred Harmswonh commented: ‘People will usually 
behevc what they want to believe. That kind of talk kept competitors 
away and helped to make our foundations secure.’ 

The first Daily Mail leading article mentioned a development which was 
more significant than the tactics of the trial-tun period or the evasions 
that came after. ‘It is no secret that remarkable new inventions have just 
come to the help of the Press. ... It is the use of these inventions on a 
scale unprecedented in any English newspaper office that enables the Daily 
Mail to effect a saving of from 30 to 50 per cent and to be sold for half 
the price of its contemporaries. That is the whole explanation of what 
would other\vise be a mystery.’ 

The chief of these new developments was linotype setting, which 
quickened the pace of newspaper production by applying the principle of 
the typewriter to the automatic casting of type, hitherto an operation of 
skilled hands. ‘So mechanical an art as the setting and spacing of a line of 
uniform type was bound to be accomplislicd by machinery, sooner or 


203 



NORTIICUnX 


later, anci the revolution is now bring quietly eficctcd in thousands of 
printmi' oHices in all parts of the world.’ Such was the text ofan advcrtisc- 
mciic issued by the Linotype Company, of l 88 Fleet Street, in 2S99. 
There was a consoling paragraph for printers who might be stirred by 
Luddite impulses. ‘Docs this mechanical line-setting imply that the hand 
compositor s occupation is goner By no means. It indicates tlut liis higher 
and truer avocation is that of an artist in type. As a line-setter, he cannot 
hope to compete with tiic machine operator. But as a display hand he Jus 
as fine a field open to him as any handtcrafmsin can command.’ 

Prejudice, ignorance, custom, trades union bigotry: the new device was 
met by strong resistant forces. Machines were wilfully mishandled. Some 
were sent back to the makers became die men refused to work them. 
One-pound shares of die company fell to lia!f.a-crown svith no takers. A 
prominent journal described the hnoty^pc as ‘a hopeless invention*. Alfred 
Harmsworth showed no interest until 1893: ‘Went to see the Linon’peand 
was much struck by it.’ The prototype machine lud been brought from 
Amcria in 1889. The Rui/ii-ay HeraU. in Chancery Lane, installed three 
machines that year. Provincial newspapers, tlic Leeds Mcrairy first, were 
ahead of the London newspaper press in taking up the nesv development. 
The first London newspaper to do so was The Clohe in 1 892. In tliat year, 
the Linotype Company profits wcrcj^j.joo. In die following three years 
they rose to ;(]j9.ooo; in ducc years more to ^^180, 000. It was a rate of 
progress akin to that of the Harmsworth businesses, to wiiich it was 
probably as indispensable as cheap paper and the 1870 Education Act. 
Newspaper progress was indebted also to the General Post Office, wliich 
had made remarkable strides in the telegraphic transmission of news and 
other ‘copy’. From a pedestrian righty words a minute, it had worked up 
to sot hundred words a minute. 'I really believe we have made die Press , 
claimed the cnginccr-in-chicf of the General Post Office, Sir William 
Prccce, and there were Fleet Street reabsts who said ‘Hear, hear*. 


How much did it cost to start the Daily Afaih The original financing was 
apparendy not a subject of documentary record. A preliminary announce- 
ment in Answers told readers of that weekly: *^100,000 is at stake. It is 
quite possible that the undertaking may not be a success. So far we have 
met with no failure.’ In The Ramante of she Daily Mail, publisJicd in 
1903, Alfred Harmsworth lumed half a million pounds as ‘the initial cost 
of machinery, buildings, ink factories and the like, and this was altogether 
apart from the capital required for daily working expenses'. He was %vriting 
seven years after the event and appears to have been reckoning the cost of 
establishing the paper as a property around wliich there was about to be 


206 



MAY 4 , 1896 

grouped, in 1905, a new company fonnation, die Associated Newspapers 
Ltd. of our day. In The Afystery of the Daily Mail, published in 1921, it 
was stated: ‘The total initial capitu was Jess than ;£i5,ooo-’ The reliably 
compiled history of modem newspapers. The Street of Ink, by H. Simonis,* 
also names ;Cl5,ooo as the sum, 'and the whole ofit was never required’. 
John Baxter Boyle, manager of the Westminster Gazette, who had kept 
in toucli with the Harmsworths from the time of their purchase of the 
Ei'cningNem, left a record oflunchii^ widi Alfred at Schuler’s Restaurant, 
Ludgate Circus, ‘when he told me that tlic Daily Mail had taken only 
jf 12,500 of the f2s,coo which he had provided. He showed me a list of 
the securities in which he proposed investing the surplus ,£12,500 of the 
fund which he had set aside to establish the paper.’ The History of The 
Times states tliat ‘the paper had been started with a mere ,^15,000 got 
together by the two Harmsworths and Kennedy Jones’, but there is no 
warranty for supposing that other Harold Harmsworth or Jones had any 
part in the financing. There was a tenacious rumour that Cc^ Rhodes had 
provided some of the money. It was alleged that ‘the wicked South 
African pohey’ of die Daily Mail was due to the flow of Rand gold into 
the Harmsworths’ pockets. Alfred wrote in Journalism as a Profession^’. 

Many years ago f was unwise enough to purchase a number of shares in the 
Chattered Company, and. as Mr Labouchcre remarked, ‘a certain number of 
fools were let in at ^8. 10$. each’. I was one of the fools, and still hold the 
shares, but, in addition to the depreciation in their value, 1 have never received 
a dividend, and have been ovet\vhclmed with abuse in Parliament and else- 
where, and quite fighrly, I thudt. It never occurred to me when I purchased 
these shares tlut there would be a South Aftican war, and, had it occured to me, 
I should never have considered it possible that one’s critics would suppose that 
such a property would bias one’s judgement of national affairs. But I resolved 
then and there that under no circumstances woidd I ever again lay myself open 
to very just suspicion. 

The disclaimer was not everywhere accepted. Down to the present day 
the belief has persisted in some quarters diat Rhodes’s money was behind 
the Daily Mail m 1S96. What is not in doubt was Harmsworth’s ample 
capacity to finance his Daily Mail venture himself. In May 1896 he had 
;^8o,ooo worth of securities, apart from his large holdings in his com- 
panies. Helping to keep production costs dosvn was the availability of 
the Nett'S machinery and business organization. There ^vas 

also the advantage of substantial and continuous publidtyin the Harms- 
worth periodical press, with its millions of copies going out each week 
to all parts of the country. Each succeeding issue of the paper clearly 

• Casjell, Igjy 

t HodJer 4 : Stoughton, 1903. 


207 



mdicatea that exceptional resources of fiinnce, energy and enterpnse 

”'Tn h^iar^' for May 7. 1896. Alfred noted: ‘Went to fecr of ie 
Anglo-Saxon Club, avhere I was the guest of the cvenmg. Among those 
present svas Sir Charles D.lke, M.P.. soruetime cjadldate for the lughes 
pohtical office, an cnigmauc figure in pubhe hfe. The day after the dime 
he wrote to a young journalist named George 

was bcginmng to make a reputation for himself on the Pull Mdl Gu-cm 
when he was impelled to resign in sympathy svith its editor, Hat^ 
Cokayne Cost, M.P. Cust had left after a disagreement about pohey with 
the proprietor, William Waldorf Aston The rcsignanon of Cmt and some 
of the principal members of the staff was of itself a considerable ncm 
‘story’. Siccvens was of tlie company which had gathered m tlie editor 
room and solemnly sung the Nmc Dimittis before their final departure. 

Charles Dilke to Steevens: 

House of Commons 
8th May, 1896. 

My dear Sir,— I met last night perhaps the most remarkable ^ I have ever 
seen— though I know Dismarck and knesv Gambetta well. It is Harmswot . 
The similarity of ideas between those of this Bonaparre First <^n$ul a 
yourself suggests to me that it is possible that he might like to catch for some 
nis joumaQstic undertakings so cultivated, $0 intelligent, and so mooem 

^ He is very young and his speech showed that he rates 
Rhodes is as strong as Bismarck, and youth rates strength too high, but 
was never sharp and has become stupid. Harmswortn himself is superior, 
that he is (probably) both strong and sharp. 

Very truly yours, 

CHARLES DILKE. 


Steevens, a shght dark man of twenty-seven who wore pince-neziu 
looked at the world with shy observant eyes, was known as one 01 c 
most distinguished young sdiolars of the day. He may not luve bcCT a pre- 
destined joumahst because his two fust names were tliose of the maracter 
in Pendennis who wrote for a Pall M<dl Gazette of Thackeray s imagiiu 
tion, but on the real paper of that name he had shown high promise. He 
had gone up to Oxford from the City of London School. A Balliol senior 
scholar, he gained a first in ‘Mods* and ‘Greats’ and a fellowship to 
Pembroke College. Whether or not as a result of Dilke’s intervention, 
he was soon in Harmsworth employment. ‘Tell me what you can do , 
Alfred had said to him at thrir first interview, ‘I think I can do anything 
from tying parcels downward’, Steevens had replied ‘in his queer sl^ 
cynical way’. He was given leaders to do but failed in that line of wor ■ 
He was put on to reporting die Richmond Horse Show. Alfred Harms- 


208 



MATT 4 . 1896 

worth Slid; ‘He showed genius in his cxtt’iordinary power of observation 
and his entirely’ new svap of recording what he had seen.' His prose was 
s'igorous and memorable, like Kiphng's. Describing a Lord Mayor's 
Show, he WTOtc: “There were the usual nnmbcr of unborn babies in the 
crowd.’ 

Chiefly, the Daily Afail staff had been recruited from the Nein. 

Jolin Hood Lingard, knoivTi as ‘Daddy’, svho had worked in a theatre 
box-office, and John Cowley, thought by some to look like Sherlock 
Holmes, were brought in as stalw*arts of dtc counting-house. Safe men, 
not 'big' men, were Avanted there. Leicester Harmswortli said that Alfred 
made Lingard manager of the Duify Afatl in order to keep Harold at a 
distance. Consequently, Harold ‘took up’ Cowley, using him to influence 
Lingard. The situation created mistrust of Cowley in Alfred's mind. It 
persisted for many years. Coivley profited greatly l>y his later association 
wth Harold. Thomas Marlowe and Walter Evans supplied editorial ex- 
perience. Another of the key men was George White, also from the 
evening paper, a pale thin man of guanuuced olm in a crisis. It was he 
who succeeded in getting the Daily Mail on to more breakfast tables out- 
side London than any oihec metropolitan ncvsipapcr. Marlowe was Irish- 
born of English stock, educated at Queen’s College, Galway. He said that 
he was first attracted to Fleer Street by reading die essay on Richard 
Savage m Johnson’s Livet cf th Poets. After serving under T. P. O’Connor 
on 77if Star, he joined the Eixttmg iNViei and nude his mark by intcr- 
\’iciving E. T. Hoolcy, the notorious financier of ilie c)*cUnc boom. It 
brought him to tlic notice of Alfred Harmswortli, who made him die 
Daily Mail nc\n editor for the tnal run period. EN-ans, a Birminplum 
nun, had been assmant to Kennedy Jones on the Ettr.in^ Sews and had 
also Worked on die Southern Daily Mail at Pommoudi. He was small and 
JchoUriy-lookmg. with a prominent AdamVapple and a cavalry' officer’s 
moustache. He did his work amid clouds ofstrong-smellmg shag tobacco 
smoke and was said to subsist for long periods on an egg a day. 

Alfred Hamiswonh himself retained the title of ^tor. A tireless 
organirer of the paper's affairs. ’K.J.' was given editorial audiority ss-iihout 
the rank m Alfrrt’s absence. Tlie nun m charge from day to day, respon- 
sibe for ‘getting out the paper, was J. E, McManus, a solicitor who had 
nev er praatsesl and vs ho !ud been cdnorully trained on T}:e rreemans 
leurnJ. f Jj- im-etl lorne time as a Jeadcr WTiier on die LreJs Daily AVu*/, 
Tlicn he came to the /.rersin^ A’eii'S in London and omlaited several of in 
editors. Uohmiun in hn lubin, he survived Alfred Hamms orth’i distaste 
for Uicm long enough to be the first rcopimt ofa form of communication 
ilu! was lo become cclebratni in ncvwpaper antuli. die personal com- 
ments on the Daily .\fa;l bv the chief proprietor ssKicli were p<ntcd up in 
the olfjcr everv morning tlirough the later yean. 



NORTHCUFFE 

McManus stayed m tlte delicately balanced cbair nf “ 
fur two and a Half years, the occnpant of a curtained-off corner 01 me 
Ltidy gas-bt newsroom at a CarmeUte Street. The main part of Ae room 
rafusld by six sub-editors and a vatjdng number of 3'“ ^ 
instant source of contact with the world outside was a ^ 

ohone The days of Haimswotth office affluence were not yn. Attet 
McManus, who left to edit The Momiti* Acte came Arthm Hunger- 
ford PoUen, son of a former professor in the old Catbobc Hmvers J 
Dublin who was secreury to the Marquess of Ibpon. bihe M , 

gave up the law for joumahsm. His Daily Mai! time was short, notneces 
Lily because he had been likened in appearance to Napoleon by T. P. 
O'Connor, writmg in his new weekly. M.A.P. ,L,L j 

Pollen bad httle news sense. He was more successful when he became 

writer on naval topics. , , t_ whn 

Next on the scene was S. J. Pryor, a Liverpool telegraph operator wno 
had worked in the New York office of an iniemational news agency, ^ 
had then come back to England as assistant to the London ® 

of the New York Journal, Julian Ralph, afterwards well known as a wr 
correspondent. Apt to be over-impressed by New York . j 

given to raising expectations unencumbered by promises, Altred in^ 
Pryor to join the Daily Mail. He did so m the belief that he wo^d becoine 
its editor. His new proprietor consulted him too often for the 
mind of Olheis in Ae office. The growing seme of crisis in SouAA tMa 
made it desirable to open a D<t/ly Mail news centre in Cape • 
Kennedy Tones was perhaps unduly enthusiastic about Pryor ‘ 

tions for the job, with the result that Pryor reluctantly went. Returr^ 
after a few months with a bayonet as a souvenir, thereafter seen oi^ ^ 
desk he used, he found that he had been superseded by Maibwe.He 
received no intimation of the clungc and there ensued an office V 

a daily race by Pryor to be ahead of Marlowe in reaching the ^ 
chair. It was said that because ofhis foresight in the matter of lunc 
sandwiches Marlowe finally won the contest. The situation cause m 
private amusement, tinged with the suggestion that no one was h 

the joke more than the chief proprietor. His attitude was criticize ' 
Marlowe was confirmed in authority over Pryor. Pryor was thoug 
have been badly treated. Taking his bayonet with him, he went ° 
Daily Express and dien became effitor of the ill-fated Tribune, one o 
Street’s most spectacular failures. A capable and responsible jouma ' 
figures as the editor in Sir PhiKp Gibbs’s novel of newspaper hte. i lie otr 
0/ Adventure. Later, he worked on The Times. In 1918, he was given 
newly-created post of press secretary at Buckingham Palace. , 

Pryor carried himself like a briskly preoccupied clerk. Marlowe 
with a commodore air. It seemed not merely expedient that he s 


210 



MAY 4, 1896 

eventttalij' be made editor of the Daily Mail. He was designed by nature 
to adorn that position. As a figure-head, he was superb. He was also a 
first-class news man. He was three years younger than the chief proprietor 
but his greying hair gave him a look of seniority. Gruff and deep-voiced, 
with a glint ofsecret humour in bis grey eyes, he had a quiet masterfulness 
that commanded respect. He had a reputation for standing up to his chief. 
Their relationship was governed on his side hy prudence. If he never let 
himself be browbeaten, there were situations in which his silence was un- 
dignified. After his term as news editor, he was made acting editor, like 
those others before him. When Alfred Harmsworth was forced by sheer 
weight of work and responsibility to delegate some of his authority, 
Marlowe was given full status. He held it for twenty-seven years, a great 
servant of the paper. 

Reversing a dictum of the character in PeaJetinis who dreamed of a 
newspaper ‘written by gentlemen for gentlemen’. Lord Salisbury is sup- 
posed to have said that the Daily Mail was ‘run by office-boys for office- 
Doys’, a sneer tltat had as much truth as Bismarck’s gibe at Salisbury, that 
he was 'a lath painted to look b'ke iron'. The Daily Mail was being written 
and edited by men whose intellectual attainments were hardly inferior to 
Salisbury’s: G. W. Steevens, H. W. Wilson, King’s Scholar ofDurham 
School and a scholar of Trinity College, Oxford, where he took honours, 
Arthur Hungerford Pollen, M.A. (Cantab.), Mawon Beeton, of Marl- 
borough and Oxford, Ignatius Rubie, of the Sortionnc. Arthur Lynch, 
with several university degrees, G. A. B. Dewar, another Oxford man, 
who wrote the parliamentary sketches, and Max Beerbohm, one of the 
paper’s regular wnters on literary matters. For the first time, a staff of 
men with good minds was engaged in the production of a popular 
newspaper. 

The man who took Marlowe’s pbcc as news editor was Lincoln Spring- 
field, in later years part-proprietor and editor of a well-kno^vn weekly, 
London Opinion. Before taking over from Marlowe, he was asked down 
to Elmwood. At tenms and billiards he beat his host wth easy superiority. 
Look here, Springfield,’ Alfred Harmssvorth said, ‘do you think you're 
being quite tactful?’ Springfield remembered ‘the boyish laugh’. As news 
editor, Springfield was paid ten guineas a week, rated then as ‘good 
money’. Harmsworth had made as complete a break with custom in wages 
and saJanes as mth other tradioonal practices iu journalism. He sent tlicm 
soanng at a time when ^6 a week was reckoned a worthwliilc salary and 
a thousand-a-ycar-man was the object of respectful salutations in ‘the 
Street’. 

There was the potent attraction of more mone)% Tliere was the glamour 
of working for a wonderfully successful newspaper. There was Alfred 
Harmsworth's personal magnetism. ‘Wc svere all inspired by him. He 


211 



NORTHCUFFE 


would come into your room ana leave lidimd him a traU of eagerness to 
do well.’ Such was the testimony of one who jorned the business depart- 
ment before the paper came out. It is difficult to convey the almost 
adormg respect in which Alfred Harmsworth was held by some of the 
younger members of tlie staff.’ wrote another staff mm who was then a 
jumot reporter. 'There was a htde chap named Mildred who said to me m 

anawe-smeken tone; “Do yonknow.IthinkMr Alfred IS suchagteatman 

that when I heat him coming up the suits, I tremble all oyer! Ueotge 
Mildred, long regarded as an ideal CatmeUte House employee, became 
one of Alfred Hatmswotth’s sectcuties and it was put about that he alw^s 
instinctively bowed on heanng hjs master’s voice on the telephone, 
being told of it, Alfred ordered another member of the s^to ring p 
Mildred and say that 'the Chief’ rvanted to speak to him, ’Then, shppmS 
into the httle room where Mildred sat at the telephone, wattmg, re 


called out; ‘You needn’t bow tbis time!’ .. 

It was the job of a young repoiter named Vaughan Drydcn to co « 
paragraphs for the column of book notes. In one of them he rcterre 
books being preferable ‘to papers wluch live on useless informawn . ^ 

was summoned to ‘Mf Alfred’s’ room. ‘Let me tell you, young Dry cn, 
Alfred said with a meaning glance at a bookcase fiUed with 
volumes, ‘that this newspaper is founded on useless information. Drv 
remembered seeing him walk through the newsroom on jY. 
nights with a large box of cigarettes which he took by the handiul an 
scattered in front of the toOing ‘subs’. McManus’s son Chve, later o 
Daily Mail staff, was startled, he said, by Alfred Harrnswotlh s looks on 
being introduced to him in the newsroom at that time. 'His hair wa 
golden. He wore a Iight’-grcy frock coat. He was the handsomest penon 
I had ever seen.’ Copying their hero, several of tlie yoimgcr v 
men wore their hair as he did, well smoothed down, with the bold parting 
and the pendant forelock. Imitation of Alfred Harmsworth was as keen i 
not as immolating a cult as that of Napoleon’s young officcn. 

The frock coat was a symbol of proicssional worth which Alfred eas y 
discarded when his abounding success had pul him beyond the nee o 
impress others. No one responded more readily than he to me ncis 
monarch’s preference for informality in dress. From about 1901, he 
usually wore a blue serge suit \vith the white-spotted red silk tie w c 
became his hallmark. He bought the silk by the roll from De^e 
of Bond Street, who kept the pattern exclusively for him. His 
men were expected to uphold the paper’s prestige by dressing wcU. W m 
Lord Salisbury’s secretary complained of the ‘unseemly atdre of a 
Mail reporter who called at Hatfield House, Alfred put up a notice m ' 
news-room calling attention to die importance of a good appe«ancc. ^ 
was taken down when one of the older men arrived at the office m 


212 



MAY 4, 1896 

morning suit which all too obviously had been made for an ampler figure. 
‘X — is the best reporter we have,’ Alfred said, ‘but in a frock coat he’s a 
disaster.’ He told his reporters: “When you go to Belgrave Square you 
must be dressed for the front door. I wont have my people looking as if 
they ought to be sent down the basement steps.’ 

An old newsvendor whose pitch was outside King’s Cross railway 
station told the Neii/spaper Oi«?er & Manager (later the Newspaper World) 
that the Daily Mail was being bought by mousands of working men who 
never bought a morning paper before*. The same trade journal stated the 
opinion: ‘There is no doubt that the Daily Mail has discovered a new 
reading public.’ The old journalism was too cumbersome for the heirs of 
national education, advancing trade unionism and the extension of the 
franchise. Multiplying appetites rather than forming tastes, the wider 
development of education was dissolving ‘the mysterious majesty of 
print’, shifting the source of its power from the educated few to the mass. 
It was hardly the fault of the popular press if its readers were ill-equipped 
to digest what they read and had a poor sense of values. Alfied Harms- 
worth’s diinkrng on the subject may not have been as lofcy as that of the 
ancient administrator who $«d: ‘Tliesc are not the best laws that I can 
make. They are the best that my Athenians can bear,’ His new paper 
suited their preferences by giving foem information in an easily assimilated 
form and it was for the schools, from which they were coming in in- 
tteasing numbers, to train their inclinations. Thepugnaciously opinionated 
‘K.J.’ had his own view of the origin of the prevailing low levels of taste. 
The new types of newspaper reader, he said, were ‘the children, the grand- 
children and the great-grandchildren of a people accustomed to public 
hangings, pubhc whippings, piUorics, ducking stools and stocks. Was the 
taste engendered by such sights dunng the centuries to be outbred by the 
cheap schoolmg of a single generation!’ 

Meanwhile, Harmsworth journalism supplied many of the ingredients 
of selfieducation. ‘Newspapers do some of the best work that used to be 
done by books,' John Morley told the dtizens of Arbroath when opening 
their new public library in iSpA ‘Intellectual curiosity has been stimulated 
enormously by this popularization of knowledge on subjects once re- 
garded as the exclusive province of the specialist,’ wrote A. J. Cummings, 
the political and soda! critic of the Liberal News Chronicle, in his book, 
The Press (Twentieth Century library, 1936). ‘If the Daily Mail had not 
been produced by the Harmsworths, something very similar must have 
taken its place. A literate nation sooner or later will demand a vital and 
popular press.’ This is how Alfred Harmsworth himself saw the change 
which he had wrought: 

Before the Daily Mail was published, journalism dealt with only a few 


213 



NOHTHCLIFEE 


asDccts of life What we did was to extend its view of life as a whole, ^is was 
difficult It involved the training of a new type of journalist. The o np 
convinced that anything which wonld be a subject of convetsanon ought o be 
ke« out of the papetl-the only thing that will seU a netvspapet m large 
numbers is news and news is anything out of the ordinary. 

The Mmcl, ester CiiarJisn put it in another way. Hatmswotth’s Daily 
Mail 'made hfe mote pleasant, mote oxciMg. for the »''c»g= ™n 
same newspapei tccordcd also that even Aosc journals wkeh " 

to tty to compete with the Daily Mail by mutatmg it had to improve 
their news services, their makc-np, their typography, theit 
attangementsi those to would - 


perished’. Echoing a famous voice in - 

say ‘I am the revolution.’ The days of the o!d newspaper aristocracy were 
numbered. Soon. The Saturday Revie, v was deriding the 
ism of the new daily, while a trade journal surmised th« some day the 
will be a daily paper consisting entirely of paragraphs . The , 

the newspaper reading public inevitably fixed the character of the pp ^ 
which in itself was governed by the curiosity stirnulatcd by t ® 
literacy. Considering the breadth of its appeal the Daily Man was a bet 
newspaper than it need have been. 


From the beginning the paper sacrificed advertisement space to news. 
penny papers had been in the habit of publuhing advertisement supp ^ 
ments of sometimes as many as five pages in an eight-page issue, 
to their income, subtracting from their convenience to the reader, 
note of the Daily Mail is not so much economy of price as conciseness an 
compacrncss’, the older newspapers being awkward to handle in train m 
bus. Advertismg had to be kept in its place. ‘The advertisements m ^ 
Daily Mail will never be allowed to encroach upon the literary mat er. 
They produced revenue but in Harmswordi’s sight they ‘spoilt the P^P^5 ' 
First and always a journalist, he was professionally resentful o 
advertisers’ growing power, reinforced though it was by his osvn inven 
tiveness and success. The History of the Times fails to take note of a ^^1^ 
rooted prejudice in stating that the prosperity of the Daily Mail was ase 
on the lesson which "Anstvers had taught them’ — the Harmswot 
brothers — ‘that money was made out of selling space to 
moreover, to the same advertisers time after time’. It had been ^ r 
unreahstic hope to do without advertising in Answers because so muen o 
it was of the disfiguring patent medicine kind. Yet no one was mor 
pleased than he when Bce^am's Pills took a trial scries of quarter pag . 


214 



MAY 4 , 1896 

just as later, while objecting to the unsightliness of advertisements in the 
Daily Alail, he never thought of reproving his outdoor publicity staff for 
plastering the hoardings of the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway 
^vith Daily Mail posters that were an eyesore to many travellers through 
a pleasant southern landscape. 

Leicester Harmsworth said that Alfred’s attitude to the advertisement 
side of the paper might have brought serious difficulties. ‘He was rigid in 
excluding more than a certain number of advertisements. On one occasion, 
further capital had to be raised as a result of that policy.’ There is possible 
confirmation of fhar sfatement in Alfred's bank account with Coutts’s, 
which shows that he drew cheques in ^vour of the Daily Mail to a total 
of 19,000 a few months after launching the paper. 

Although advertising orders had been tunu^ away for the first issue, 
there was no great pressure of demand by advertisers during the paper’s 
fint weeks. With an angler’s cunning, Harmsworth inserted free advertise- 
ments of Ne\vnes’spubUcation on the fiont page. He said that when it was 
seen that his chief rival thought iljc space wonh having, confidence 
would grow. The declaration on June i ofa daily average sale of 171,121 
copies had not impressed the better class of advertiser, who continued to 
eauate halfpenny papers svitlt low purchasing power and lower tastes. 
There were many newspaper teaden, also, who regarded the halfpenny 
coin as a social blemish, like Cockney speech and a taste for margarine. 

Classified or ‘small’ advertisements were a mainstay of the Daily Mail 
income in the beginning. Alfred Harmsworth introduced a novel way of 
attracting them. He printed in the paper a replica of a post office telegraph 
form. Readers svanting jobs or having sometliing to offer sverc invited to 
fill in the form at the G.P.O. inland telegraph rate ofa Iialfpenny a word. 
The response was ovcr\vhclniing. The advertisement manager worked the 
clock round, snatching sleep in his office duir. Later it was chimed that 
'the telegraph form idea has been copied all over the world'. In fact, it 
*ppar$ to have been copied in the first pbcc fiom a Croydon piper, which 
used the idea years before. 

A number of London business bouses, Jed by Thomas Wallis A' Com- 
pany, tlic Holbom drapen, tried to buy ‘dispby’ space on the front page 
but Were refused. Later, lliey were allowed to advertise 'below tlic fold’ 
only, A chance came when an adverriset applied for a 'below the fold* 
position on the magaanc page, which lud a direct appMl to women 
rcaden. It soon proved to be die paper’s bcst-seihng spice and enabled 
Harold Harmsworth to raise the advertumg rates. Seizing die inference, 
Alfred set about creating die Women’s Page, an inspiration wliich de- 
veloped the force of a second svavc sn the joumahsric revolution begun on 
hhy 4. i8p6. 



chapter Nine 


‘A Factory in Bohemia’ 


Alfred Harmsworth announced ‘the greatest progress in the tide of Ae 
company’s prosperity, a profit of ^53.000: dividend. 22 per cent . 
year , at an Answers Publications Ltd. ordinary general meeting mj j 
1896. In less than eight years the company had earned the equivalent 
nearly half its capital. His brothers’ world tour of the previous year vm 

beginning to show results in increased overseas circulations, f^*”^**?* 

ber when a publisher who thought to circulate his publications in. k 
say, New Zealand ot Btidsh Columbia would have been * 

visionary.’ He did not conceal his personal satisfaction in announ^g t 
the company had ‘handed to its authors and wnters rnore man e 
thousand pounds’ during the nvclvc months. Congratulating the sw 
holders, Layton Bennett, the accoununt, reminded them ^at they naa 
far receivea ^ 3 hi dividends. *I think that is something to be prou 
of. There are very few companies at the present day which can point to a 
balance-sheet like this.’ He felt sure that he ‘had the sense of the ’ 

he said in the platitudes of his calling, ‘in proposing a vote of thanks 
the chairman and directors’, and diere was still more admiring app au^ 
when the chairman rose to announce: ‘We are making today considera y 
over sixty thousand pounds a year. 1 hope to maintain, and even increase, 
that figure for the whole of this year.’ 

Before the year had ended, an extraordinary general meeting vw 
called. As Leicester Harmsworth took his place with his 
Memonal Hall, Farringdon Street, he heard a shareholder 
they’re just a lot of boys!’ The purpose this time was to sanction the con 
venion of Answers Publications Ltd. into Harmsworth Brothers Ltd., 0 
take over all the existing Haimswordi businesses, except the newspapers. 
Between them. Answers Publications, Pandora Publishing Company 
Periodical Publishing Corporation and die Geraldine Press, were earning 



*A FACTORY IN BOHEMIA* 

profits at the rate of ;^i26,ooo a year. The chairman was careful to tell the 
shareholders: ‘With the newspaper part of our business the new company 
will have nothing to do.’ He refen^ to a point of criticism, ‘ft is in the 
minds of some people that this is a one-man show. That is not so. Neces- 
sarily, there must be someone at die head of it. But it is evident that one 
man cannot run fourteen papers and my brothers and I arc connected 
with eighteen in all. I make no secret of that.’ He went on to suggest that 
the figures given to the shareholders showed that there was no neglect of 
their interests. Deploring the need to equip the new company’s printing 
works with French and American nuc^es because of their superiority 
to the British, he told the shareholders that tickets would be issued to any 
of them and their friends who cared to see the companies’ papers being 
printed. Not everyone present may have recognized m the invitation one 
more move in the rivalry with Newnes, who had built a visitors’ gallery 
in the big basement machine-room of his new building in Southampton 
Street, Strand, and was encouraging the pubHc to go in and watch his 
Tit-Bits being printed. 

The directors of the new million-pound Harmsworth company were 
Alfred, Harold, Cecil, Leicester and Hildebrand. Their respective ages 
were 31, 28, 27, 26 and 24. They could say that the average age of their 
staffs, ‘not including the office boys’, was 24 and that in no more than 
eight years they had built up the largest periodical publishing business in 
the world. Speaking as a retiring director, Robert Leighton said at the 
extraordinary general meeting that ‘in his shrewdness at judging the 
necessities of me public, Mr Alfred Harmsworth is really a genius’ 
(Applause). The new company prospectus named Alfred as the founder 
of the business, Harold as conducting it with him. On October 21 the 
Daily Mail reported that the issue of Harmsworth Brothers’ shares had 
been heavily over-subscribed. ‘By an oversight’, the announcement of the 
new conmany, witli its fourteen papers, did not appear in Answers, the 
parent of them all. Cecil was the ecUtor. His sense of Fleet Street in- 
adequacy may have been still further sharpened by the laughter which he 
had to face soon afiertvards when, in his editorial column, he referred to 
the firm’s newest publication, Tlte Girls' Friend, as ‘a huge woman’s 
journal’. 


* * * 

Alfred had been warned again by his doctors, Murrell in London and 
Haven acBroadstairs. Murrell had bcenemphatic about the need for him to 
rearrange his work and hours. ‘He gave me some serious advice.* Both 
doctors ordered more relaxation. He sought it in more theatre-going and 
from the diary it seems that he had a preference for bad farce. But he was 


217 



jt tht fiM night of Irving's proaucnon of CpmWmc at the lycei^ 
'Aftenvards to supper behind the scenes. Met Henry Itvmg and Eto 
Terry. Liked both.' He saw The Ceisla twice, 

Eaineil three times. 'Been reading novels a good deal. With difficulty, he 
kept away from the office for a fortnight. Instead, he was visitetl at 
Charles Sneet by a stream of callers. Among them were Herbert War^ 
Grant Richards, who had been working with Stead on The R"’'™ j 
Rerieies, and who had dreams of going into business as a book pubMIier 
with Hatmsworth's help, G. W. Steevens, Man Beetbohni, and W^am 
Graham, the soUcitot, who was constantly summoned to his side. uii<x 
tors’ meetings were held at the house. Too much business, private 
professional, was being done there. ‘A Mr Bcauclcrk ^me to 
money. Not so well tonight in consequence.’ A few days 
thoroughly run dosvn’, a state which a fishing trip to the Norfolk r 
failed to relieve. He bought a new ‘Premier’ bicycle and rode the ^ ™ 

from Norwich to London in two days. A day or nvo s rest and he pc 

off down the Portsmouth Road, with enervating results. ‘Stayed the nig 
at The Anchor, Ripley. Found several of the old people dead since 1 
there eleven years ago.’ , . . « • Unn 

On November 14, ‘to see the motor-cars surt on their trip to bright • 
Little better.’ Thirty-five cars nude history that day, setting forth iro 
Nortliumbcrland Avenue, London. About half that number rew 
Brighton. The event marked the freeing of motorists from the thr 
miles-an-hour regulation, originally framed to restrict the speed 
traction-engines. The ‘Emancipation Run’ of i8p6, commemorative 7 
repeated each year since, iruugurated the motoring age. A leader note J 
llic first issue of the Daily Afail had called attention to the anomaly o 
Britain concentrating on sea power wWle neglecting the coming rwo 
tion on the roads. Alfred Harmsworth’s newspaper influence, campaigns 
against the law’s absurdity, gave inventors and manufacturers the in 
centivc to overtake French and German internal combustion deve 0^ 
ments, which had not been hampered by legal limits. In those 
the number of motor-car manufacturers was already numbered by t 
score. In England there were six. - 

His health did not sufficiently improve. A complete severance fro 
work was ordered by the doaors. On November 30, a cousin ot t 
Ravens at Broadstairs, Reginald Nicholson, spoke of India as a change 
scene. The follosving day he svas asked to book passages for 
Molly Harmsworth, witli himself as their guide. Ten days later 1 

left for Brindisi, there embarking for Bombay. On December 25, A «ca 
UTOtc in his diary; ‘Don't like my first Christmas away from home. 

Refreshed by the voyage out, Ws first impulse on landing at 
was to call on the editor of Thf Times of India and to seek out the 


218 



‘a factory in bohemia’ 

representative of the Daily Mail. The diary is exclamatory throughout Ae 
tour and telb little of his impressions. ‘Saw Taj Mahal by moonUght. An 
elephant ride and a visit to the Holy Man of Benares are as casually notci 
A tiger beat produced *a most enjoyable day, full of novel expenence, 
of which we hear no more. Between excursions, he was octmpied by 
‘letters from the office’, writing articles for the Daily Mail on plague 
famine in India — subsequently publbhed as a pamphlet, Hard Facts Jrom 
India— ini contemplating the steady progress of his newspaper toward^ 
a commanding position in the world’s press. Its circulation had passe 
the 250,000 mark and ^vas still rising- 

* * * 


George Bernard Shaw haUed the Daily Mail as ‘the most important rwent 
development in London jourruUsm’. He \vrotc to Alfred Harmsworth on 
the fint anniversary of the paper. May 4. 1897: do^ ^ you place 

your politial criticism on the same footing as your draimnc and bterary 
criticism? Then it would be infiuenria! and interesong. Pam po^ncs arc 
the last and most obstinate of the foUics you have inherited from the Old 
Journalism.' In fket, the paper had no strong poLtial affilianon for the 
good reason that commitments of that kind were already a rag o” 
fortunes of the newspipets it was designed to supplant. From the hym- 
ning, the editorial viewpoint was flcnibly independent of the Mttra. It 
was not in the nature of Alfred Hatmssvotth to be tied to a lacnon. He 
tcqulrcd io he free to support any person, cause ot institution “■?' 
serve his genuine if not always coherent wish to furthtt the national m- 
tercst. His aim was to produce a newspaper for the peop e. r 

For anniversary purposes, the paper prommcntlv repea c i p ^ 

‘aU the news in the stSllest space’, and primed ^t « 

to sensationalism, tittle-tattle or indecency. Most o ttssucc ’ , . j r 

■is due .0 the mspittng tliough. and la^ut J=™ed W ^ 

young wotkets’. Ocdit svas given to the ' w 

Jones!’ lasoking back fton. aTatet time. Alf-^ 

They were joyous days.' Men spoke of them ssath the fetsout of Nap^ 
Iron’s oldsoidiets svho could proudly clatmi Wc were rath A' “ 
Italy!’ H. W. Wilson, svho had bccomc^ef leader raitct. tecallrf Acm 
as ’dty, of youth, full of tomanta-, svhidi waU Lve m die memory of all 

who shared iliosc early tnumphs . tn 

In the second week of May that year. 1897. Ac Hatmswottta v mt w 
hve in Berkeley Square, indulging ihcs^raUtaltenutivetoban^ft^ 
which Alfttd led wsoahzcd on Ac nigV of putnng Ac paper ^ 

Ac first ume. a year before. ■Hie house was numb« 3& In one ol m 
«mng-rootns Gbdstonc had proposed to the lady who became 


219 



NORTHCUFFE 

Its small white-painted front gave it a bijou modesty next to number 38, 
the stately town mansion of Ardubald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl or ose- 
beiy’, who, having become Prime Minister in March 1 894 ® 

forty-seven, had resigned after sixteen uncomfortable months m omce. 
He and Harmsworth were already known to each other. 

October 8, 1896.— To Dalmeny to endeavour to interview Lord Rosebery 
for the Daily Mail Succeeded in doing so. Lunched and spent a most pleasant 
time there. Met Mr Asquith. 

It was not so much a formal interview as a meeting at whicli Rosebery 
had declined to discuss the topic of the hour, his departure from Dmvnii^ 
Street. T thought the Daily Mail came from the other camp,’ he observed, 
to which Harmsworth promptly replied: ‘The Daily Mail is indepen ent 
and Imperial.’ In the printed account of what passed between 
the ‘personal touches’ of the new journalism. ‘The man who hm thn 
morning startled the world appeared as meny and sunburned as moug 
he had just returned from the moors or the links. Dressed in a comfortap c 
suit. . , .’ When Ac sacred name of Gladstone was mentioned, mere was, 

I Aought, a tone of sadness in the cheery voice’. Passing from 
room, Ac would-be mterviewet noted that ‘Acre were pictures ot Mr 
Gladstone’s most famous gaAerings, a portrait of Mr Gla Atone and, over 
the indicator of a bell, Ac worA, ^‘Mr Gbdstone’s bedroom”.* That sa^ 
day, Rosebery noted: ‘Mr HarmsworA came to intervievv me. I lunched 
him mstcad. An intetesdng young man.’ There was no futAcr com- 
muniation between Acm until a year later, when Roseberry sent m a 
note to 36 Berkeley Square: 

My dear Mr Harmsworth. — I hope you like oui excellent and ropectable 
neighbourhood. I tried to find you one day to give you the accolade ot 
freeholder but you were in all the agonies of a concert. Sincerely, ROSEDER • 

It was tlic first of a long series of usually brief communications written 
to HarmsworA by Rosebery. More often Aan not, they were addresse 
‘Dear Neighbour'. Some were signed ‘Neighbour’. The rclationsjup 
benveen Ac two is easier to understand from Harmsworth’s side. For {^« 
Rosebery was not only an admired political and social figure, a Whig 
among Ac RaAcals, heroic, still, in Ac sight of Aosc Liberals who re- 
mained unprejudiced by his having won Ac Derby. He ^vas Arthur 
Pcndcnnis in exalted degree, pfts and diarm. What power of atttacnon 
HarmsworA had for Rosebery, an aristocrat of Ac intellect as 
less readily suggested; perhaps his tenacity, which Ac older man deadly 
beked, perhaps what may nave seemed to him to be, even so, Ac light y 
won success, which Rosebery, to Ac detriment of his reputation, alwa)’S 


220 



‘a factory in bohemu’ 

coveted — ‘the palm without the dust’ — ^perhaps simply the unconcealed 
adnuration which Harmsworth had for him at that time. There svere 
passing political sympathies of no significance to citlier or to history. Cecil 
Harmsworth wrote that ‘undoubtedly Alfred had some thought of sup- 
porting Rosebery’s Liberal League both in the press and financially’, but 
that Rosebery’s indecision was ‘out of tune with Alfred’s eager spirit’. 

When, as I recollect Alfred telling me, the old Duchess of Devonshire 
assured him that in supporting Lord Rosebery he was backing the wrong 
horse, he had probably begun to entertain doubts of a leader who had all the 
talents but that of leaaership. 

The two men had embarked on a closeness of personal acquaintance 
which never became friendship. They avalkcd together nvo'or three rimes 
a Week when in town, their goal a tree on the west side of Hyde Park. 
Reaching the tree, they would gravely touch it with their sticks and turn 
and walk back to Berkeley Square. Those ritualistic perambulations may 
not have been inspired by the fact that Rosebery’s father had written a 
pampJiIet on physical exercise. Ifanyone, seeing them striding by, assumed 
consanguinity between them, he might have been excused. They had a 
similar facial stamp of ‘fine carelessness’. Rosebery is remembered by Lady 
Hudson, then Molly Harmsworth, waiting patiently in the half at 36 
Berkeley Square for Alfred to come down from his room. Cecil Harms- 
n-ofth thought Rosebery ‘a solitary man’, and said tliar his house, number 
38, ‘had some beautiful things in it but was untidy’. 

Socially, Alfred Harmswocth’s rise kept pace with his extraordinary 
success as a publisher, the latest csidcncc of which was that Harmsworth 
Brothers Ltd. — ‘the company which bears the name of my family’, to 
quote the proud boasc of the chairman at the annual general meeting 
of i897_h3d declared a net profit of no less than j^iyS.ooo and that 
the rapid growth of the Eirninf Netrs called for a quarter of a million 
pounds of new capital. His banhen’ orders for West End club subscrip- 
tions now amounted to £300 a year. Within a week or tsvo of his 
launching the Dji/y Mail.ne was notified of his election to the Carlton 
Club, rendezvous of the Conservative hierarchy. He had been presented 
to the Pnnee of Wales at a St- James’s Palace levee. Glitter was added to 
his v-idcning range of acquaintance by the Dukes of Edinburgh and 
Abcrcom, Sir Artliur Sullivan, of the famous Savoy parmenhip, and 
Sarah Bernhardt. He had a lease of box 53 at the Royal Opera House 
which cost him >^402. He and bis wife stayed again at Broadlands with 
the Ashleys and were on the weekend guest list of the Onslows at Clan- 
don Park. He luncheil wnth W. G. Grace at Lord’s on June 3, iS97.and, 
returning to the ofTicc, found the following letter awaiting his pleasure; 



NOBTHCUFFE 


Dcii Mr. Hrrmrworth,— Why shonld yoo not run rlown to -tte Pno^, 
Rcigatr (I hour from london), and spend Monday n.ghtnaxt “ J°“ 
tviUdind a very beantiH place, a fewagteeable people, and a warm n elcome 

Yours truly, 

GEORGE N. CURZON.* 

The diary tcUs us that the visit took place later that year, when the 
Asquiths, the Alfred Lyttatons and Austen Chimbetlaan were of tlu 
patty. T heard a great many interesting things about the inner hie ol 
poMcs and much about GUdstone and Rosebery. Waking 
lanes on that occasion with Margot Asquith, she told me a great many 
political matters, espedally a good deal relating to the quarrel benveen 
Rosebery and Hatcourt’, spoken of as ‘that clash of tot ™th steel . 

Tie Saturday Reuieiu sneered that he had ‘grown rich and got mto stum 
society' from a kind of joumahsm which it could not sulnacntly dep o . 
Enjoying, naturally, the pleasures of being admired for his success as w 
as foe his personal attributes, he was not then or at any time sociaUy aettve 
in the etude and thrusting sense. Foe him the attractions of soaal >dy>”'^ 
ment were not m knowing ‘tlic tight people’ but in having access to o 
of exceptional achieyement. His ptofessional instinct was alwajn 
than his social bias. ‘What arc we dining atenli' he would ask b“ ™ 
occasions for which an array of distinguished persons had been asked, 
was earning the reputation of a sclT-cffacing host. He would 
silently at table, often taking the smallest part in the convcKanon wnii 
being wholly attentive to it. Only rarely did he seem to be insensitive o 
the social nuances. Shortly after he had moved to Bcrkclw ” 

invited some of his old angling acquaintances to dinner. When the par^ 
broke up, he was so prompt in helping one of the more garrulous 
into his overcoat that the man turned on him %vith the angry deman 
'1 say, what's the 'urry, ’Armswotthj' , 

In his private circle, which had its most constant centre at Elmwoo , 
there were aUvays one or t%vo men who could claim friendship 'vith mm 
wthout necessarily being encouraged to assume permanence m la 
standing. Herbert Ward remained his closest friend, though his journeys 
severed communication for long periods. ‘I suppose I know Herbert better 
than anyone in the world’, Alfred would say. After Ward, it was Max 
Pemberton who had kno\vn him longer than anyone outside the taini y* 
Pemberton had become a Harmswotth employee and the 
making a friend into a colleague had not been altogether successful. 7 

do you have Max do%vn to slayj* Harold asked Alfred,^ The answer cam 
promptly: ‘I don’t have to think when Tm with him. . , 

The names of a number of dose acquaintances recur in the diary ot 

* ljur, Min^ucB Curron of KaU^oa. 


222 



‘a factory in bohemia’ 

middle 1890s, mostly of tennis and fidiing enthusiasts who could be relied 
on to fill in the Elmwood weekends. There was Neville Jackson, a neigh- 
bour of the Harmsvvortbs in the Pandora Road days. He had Stock 
Exchange connections, and his wife wrote a standard work on the art and 
history of the silhouette and edited Hame Chat. Much later, she was com- 
missioned to telephone Alfred Harmsworth every morning, to give him 
a ‘woman’s angle’ on the day’s news. ‘Hierc was ‘Tuppy’ Hayter, a young 
man about town who was given a post on The Rambler, a short-lived 
Harmsworth weekly which, ignoring the Johnsonian derivation of its 
title, catered for the fresh-air seekers left over from the cycling boom of 
1895. Hayter had been secretary-companion to Harmsworth on the fishing 
trip to Florida. There was Gilbert Burgess, fircclancc art critic, the son of a 
Royal Academician. There was Lord Mountmorres. All were in some 
degree dependent on him, an important if not a prime qualification for 
admission to his circle. Max Beerbohm was not an intimate friend, nor 
was he a dependent, although a letter shows that he cherished the hope 
that Harmsworth would buy a collection of his cartoons on view at the 
Carfax Gallery. He was seeing muds of the Hatmsworths. ‘They arc very 
charming people’, he %vrote to William Rothemtein; he thought Alfred 
'qt^te amazing and intetesting'. 

Standing apart in years and experience, but within the same personal 
radius, were the naval historian WtUiam (later Sir William^ Laird Clowes, 
Sir Douglas Straight, the Old Harrovian editor of the Pall Mall Gazette, 
William Graham, the solicitor, of the firm of Nicholson, Graham & 
Jones, 24 Coleman Street, London, E.C, Edwin Ward, the portrait 
painter, a prominent member of the Savage Club, and Robert Radclyffe 
Dolling, the Anglican priest of Portsca, who had reached a depth of under- 
standing %vith Alfred attained by few others in his circle, then or after. 
But for Dolling’s death, that might have been the friendship of Alfred's 
hfc. A little later there came Charles Whiblcy, the scholarly, opinionated 
critic and essayist who wrote ‘Musings Without Method' in Blad:uvcd’s 
Magazine. 

From 1896, It is Reginald Nicholson’s name tlui occurs most often in 
the diary. He ivas four y'cars younger than Harmsworth, the son of a 
Master in Lunacy at die Royal Courts of Justice. After Charterhouse, he 
had gone to India as assisunt traffic manager of the Bcngal-Nagpur Rail- 
'v« Company. He and Alfred Hamwwonh had first met at Broadstairs. 
Ofeasy manners, naturally companioiublc, ’Reggie’ Nicholson soon made 
himself useful to his new fnend, at first, and for sc\’cral years, keeping fus 
personal accounts. His spinstcnsh handwriting fills the pages of a scries of 
ledeen recording tradesmen’s bills, investmcnii, annuities, gifts and loans, 
md crediting himself svidi 51. a month for his sersias. It is dear dut 
Alfied counted on him for help of a kind dut Sutton was less well 





NORTIICLIITE 


qiulificd to givt, pardculatly in a social way. Nicholson could grace a 
luni or dinner uble with his tactful durm. He was constanUy in attOTd- 
ance on the Harmsworths and became virtually comptroller ot thar 
households. Later, he was to fill important newspaper posts. Like me 
others, he found it difficult to maintain the friendly status on any but 
Alfred Harmsworth’s terms. As die eldest of a large fiimily, Harimworth 
may not have needed friendships. He had arrived at a summary judgmen^ 
on that nutter. ‘After thirty we make many acquaintances, but less 
friends’, he told Max Pemberton. Some who had kno\vn the pleasure ot 
being in his intimate circle and the pain of banishment from « 
agreed that, hkc David Garrick, accorifing to Oliver Goldsmith, 
off his friends as a huntsman his pack, for he knew when he pleased c 
could whistle them back’. . i t. • r T 

Alfred and Mary Harmsworth were becoming resigned to their late o 
childlessness. As time passed, it had been thought desirable to seek mcdi^ 
advice. The best consultants in England and on the Continent were in- 
vited to give an opinion. AU agrcca that there was no discoverable reason 
why the Harmsworths should not be parents. That consummation con- 
tinued to be denied tliem. Alfred had a poetic way of disposing of sym* 
pathetic allusions to the subject. He would say: ‘There is alsyays a crumple 
rose leaf It cannot be doubted that it was a lasting disappointment to him 
not to have a son whom he could bring before the world as heir to W 

nameandplace. Wb -• t— - ‘n«mte 

out lack of fortune it 


wife very great p.v~...v. ..... W...W «... , 

to head yet another branch of a family for which 1 am so ambinow- 
Receiving word of the child’s death at the age of only a few months, he 
broke his hoLday m France to go over for the funeral at the Maiylcbone 
Cemetery, Lonaon. Among the three or four notes at the back of his 


diary for 1899, one refers to the death of *my dear little godson, tm 
months before. As for his more intimate frustration, no doubt too muc 
night be read into his use of gynaecological language when ^ 

ii< ni»vv f«T>i»r» a* ihrv anniMr*"*!. ‘Pain and anmiUb . ‘lustV cHild , birth 


his new papen as they appeared. ’Pain and anguish , ‘lusty cmld , bi 
pangs severe’, ‘promising child’, arc phrases taken from his diary notes an 


letters conccminc those events. , . 

He gave to children tlic spontaneous affection which fesy of their 
ciders dresv from liim. ‘The Ntchobon children are a great joy to m , 
occurs m the 1899 diary. He recorded there his fondness for Edvvio 
Ward’s ‘dear httle Bluccoat son, Frank*. He had a triumphant instinct m 
his dealings with the very young: he always sat with them on 1*^^' 
Almost It seemed that he svilfully regressed in imagination to Im carli« 
years as a member of a large family. Many of his letten to his mother 
were signed ’Your fint-bom’. He inscribed books and photographs to 



NORTlIClinX 

dcspijcr of the arts. He had never read sj^tcnutially. His qui^ ht^ 
Iiarvcstcd information which %vas not ripened into knowlwge. His 
hurty’ing spint left him no time for reflection. I lis library, formed at 
Elmwood round liis prized Dickens’s fint editiom, was by no means an 
impersonal part of lus cxistcn«. Volumes from it went on liis travels— 
Ohver Goldsmith, Izaak Walton, Dr Johnson and ilic modem novchsts. 
Hardy first among tliem. When he said tliat he could not afford to buy 
art masterpieces, he was probably thinking of his brother Harold, whose 
art education enriched dealers and their go-betweens. In llic early *9^ 
Alfred commissioned his fnend, duties W. Purse, an A.U.A. who had 
more respect for the New English Art Club than for the Royal Academy, 
to buy pictures by modem arnsts with the idea of forming what Purse 
told him would be ‘a collection which w ould challenge the Chantrey 
Bequest’. A start was made with works by Steer, Sargent and ^ 

The untimely death of Purse apparently put an end to the projcc^^hw 
took more obvious pleasure m shosving off’my Canaletto’, one of his fes' 
old-master purchases. In music he remained die strumming amateur for 
whom Chammadc’s ‘Automne* tvas a master work. More adult 
appreciation of the natural scene. If it no longer stirred him to l)mcal 
expression as in die Hampstead days, he was oftnt moved to svritc about 
it Nvith genuine feeling in his letters. 


Eight years before lie had been glad to receive a guinea for an article, cs'cn 
half-a-crown for a paragraph. Now, he was making ^80,000 a year, » 
income that was only at the beginning of its astounding momenturn. The 
beginnings, too, of physical change were to be seen in him. Without 
losing die crucial boyishness, the engaging charm, the good looks, he 
was acquiring an air of substance beyond his years. His face lines were 
hardemng in the mould of success. His nose, someone noticed, svas hsc 
Napoleon’s. Ecstatically, his serial svriting contributor, Marie Connor 
Leighton, decided that his mouth also svas ‘just like Napoleon s . 

She was not the only visitor to Elmwood who read significance mw 
the cipher ’N’ on the Sivres sauceboats. There were others who wondered 
whether dicir host cherished the notion of affinity. Like his friend Cccu 
Rhodes, he was a collector of books on Napoleon. Engravings of Napoleon 
helped to furnish die bungalow in the garden. A bust of Napoleon stoo 
on us mahogany torchere in the drasving-room. There were physical 
resemblances for all to see. They were evident not only in the drooping 
forelock, Napoleon’s made faimliar to the world by Dclaroches cele- 
brated ‘snuffbox’ portrait. Alfred Harmsworth was like the Napoleon 0 
the early Consulate period. Each had the bone structure that made him 


226 



NORTHCLIFFE 


fastened on him by the cartoonists and professional humorists, among 
them E. V. Lucas, in his Change for a Halfpenny lampoon on the popular 
press. No doubt Alfred was pleased when the Marchioness of Granby, 
later the Duchess of Rutland, did a pencil portrait of him. Asked why she 
had written ‘Napoleon’ against his name, she replied: ‘Because he seemed 
to me to be very like Napoleon — shape of head — lock of hair on forehead 
— earnest look under his brows — and eyelashes like a child!’ 

Like Bonaparte, but without the elements of farcical comedy, Alfred 
Harmsworth founded a dynasty. If he did not exalt his mother and the rest 
of his family to heights of miendour, he brought them wealth and position 
and made them immensely proud of the Harmsworth name. Only the 
older ones remembered the bad times. ‘Dot’, the eldest daughter, repressed 
her memories of them perhaps more wilfully than the others. She never 
mentioned the Salusbury Road address to her children, who grew up un- 
aware of the family’s early circumstances. Harold, who had laid the 
foundations of what would be the greatest Harmsworth fortune, had three 
sons and was living at North End House, Hampstead, once the home of 
the elder Pitt. Leicester, handicapped by ill-health but sustained by good 
humour and a firm religious feith, had married the sister of a Somenet 
House colleague of his named Scott and he and his wife were csublishw 
at Rcveley Lodge, Bushey Heath. Cecil married a Maffett cousin, Bmihe; 
thev were living at Hadleigh Wood. Hildebrand was still unmarried. He 
had an apartment in Curzon Street, Mayfair. The younger brothers and 
sisters were living with their mother in Maida Vale. 

Cecil Harmsworth 's private memoranda ate entirely modest about his 
part in the family success and warmly generous in attributing the larger 
share to his elder brothers. ‘Without Alfred, I would never have gainw 
any sort of foothold in Fleet Street, never having credited myself wth the 
quickness of mind and the intuitive sense for news or the sleepless interest 
in the passing events of the day that arc essential to the make-up of the 
true journalist.’ The e^torship of Anstvers was an avuncular role well 
suited to his personality. He was kind and gentle and he had the right tone 
of voice, richly benevolent, Hii bias is seen in his frequent use of the word 
‘gentleman’ in his editorial musings. A small tradesman wishes to trace 
his lost soldier son, a private of die 4th Hussan. ‘The missmg gentleman * 
name’. Cedi tells his readers, whom he invites to take part in the search, 
‘is John Wilson.’ A chimney swe^ has a debt of £13 and is bowed down 
by it. ‘I advise this gentleman', writes Coal, ‘at all costs to keep away from 
moneylenders.’ Alfred often spoke of Cedi as 'the gentleman of our 
family’, and it was true that vdiilc Cecil was a Harmsworth in physical 
appearance, he had little of the mental force and drive of his elder brokers 
and no taste whatever for the competitive life. It was often said of jum 
that he would have made an idral bishop or ambassador. His Little Fishing 

228 



NORTHCUFFE 


Fleet Street compared with Alfred’s. He had no band of brothers to help 
him at every turn.’ 

The Harmsworth editors had orders not to mention the chief pro- 
prietor’s name in their columns except by his consent. He had no taste for 
self-advertisement. He was still more reticent about seeming to take 
advantage of his position as head of a powerful publicity machine. He 
%vrotc many articles for his papers but only in special circumstances, such 
as the trip to India, was his name put over them. He may have had his 
dreams of power, but there was no overt sign that he saw himself as a 
leading performer on the stage ofhistory. Even so, from 1897 onward the 
anonymity which he preferred could no longer contain his growing 
prommcnce as a director in the wings. It was as if the Zeitgeist was drasving 
him up out of his generation to be moulded into a dynamic twentieth- 
century figure. 


On the evening of June 21, 1897, the Harmsworths gave a party 3 t 
Berkeley Square. The invitations were inscribed; To Meet The Colonial 
Premiers, who were in London for the Diamond Jubilee. Leaders of 
London society, ambassadors, members of both Houses of Parliament, 
famous actors, professional beauties, thronged the house. A foreign prin- 
cess said that nowhere had she seen more splendid floral decorations— ’not 
even in royal and imperial palaces'. A Parisian restaurateur, with his stalf, 
had been brought over to provide a banquet, Paderewski played the piano. 
Melba sang. The next day Alfred wrote in his diary that he had seen ’the 
most magnificent spectaefe I ever bclield or ever can behold’, the Diamond 
Jubilee Procession. 'We had a room at 66 St. James’s Street, which I took 
chiefly for Mother.’ He had to rush away through the crowds as soon as 
the procession had gone by, to resume work at me office where, vide the 
diary, he was ‘worrying them about the Daily Mail Golden Extra’, an 
eight-page souvenir printed in gold and sold at sixpence. In printing 
history it was not an exceptional novelty. The Sun, in 1838, had printed 
its coronation number in gold. There was a great demand for the ‘Golden 
Daily Mad’ and years later specimen copies became collectors’ items. In 
contrast, the Evening News drculation feU heavily on Jubilee Day, for the 
unexpected reason that the newsboys found more profit in selling prO” 
grammes and paper handkerdiiefs. As their contribution to a notable 
event, Harmsworth Brothers Ltd. had already published Sixty Years a 
Qtieeii, an illustrated popular history issued in ten sixpenny parts. It was 
hailed as ‘the publislung triumph of die Jubilee’, and its sale of nearly 
300,000 copies led to far-rcadimg developments in the Harmsworth 
busmess. 

The note of the Diamond Jubilee was benevolent imperialism and its 


230 



‘a factory in bohemia’ 

fervour vibrated far and wide, though the old Queen was by then failing 
in her responses to all but the more domestic sentiments. To some on- 
lookers tlut day she seemed a scarcely animate figure being dragged 
through the streets as a symbol rather than as the sentient ruler of great 
realms. The crowds were smahet dian they had been for the Jubilee of ten 
years before, but the emotional density was not less great. It was given 
perfect expression in Rudyard Kipling’s Recessional, published in The 
Times on July 17 and acclaimed even by the unofficial laureate’s Liberal- 
Pacifist friends. 

Looking down on the resplendent procession as it passed St. James’s 
Palace, Alfred had been caught in the waves of feeling which his Daily 
Mail had helped to generate. This was the new imperialism. It was 
exhibited with a swagger implying that (in the vernacular of a later time) 
it could not care less about the resounding consequences of the defeat of 
the old imperialism in 1776, but also with a humility posing the imperial 
idea as sentiment rather than as policy. That concept exactly suited Alfred 
Harmsworth’s temper. Ic called for no precise thinking and only the 
vaguest convictions, foe a generous patriotism but no political profundity. 
The marvellous procession was the vanguard of a movement which would 
expel disorder from the British cosmos. For him, the imperial idea meant 
an extension of the efficiency for which his soul had always craved, 
perhaps in recoil from the chaos of his early drcumsunces. His reverence 
for order had in it a visionary element that went well beyond mere 
competence. It had made him the admiring disciple of Cedi Rnodes, who 
had added an immense terntory to the Empire and who dominated any 
assembly, however distinguished, proving to Harmsworth’s satisfaction 
that men mattered more than thcjr politics. Broadly, that remained the 
measure of his pohrical tliinking. It was the more congenial to him because 
it provided a formula by which he could justify his independence as a 
nc\vspapcr controller. 

Announdng with more confidence than insight that he was personally 
responsible for ‘the political aspect of our papers’, Alfred told a share- 
holders’ meeting that he had no use for old-fashioned Consers’atism. 
svhich was as dead as old-fashioned Radicalism. 'We arc Unionist and 
Imperialut. We have no sympathy wliatcvcr mth the poLticians of the 
sixties, the ’seventies or the 'eighties.' Declaring that he and his papers 
stood for ‘the unwntten alliance of the English-speaking peoples', and that 
their advocacy of a big na\'y, among other causes, haefevoked charges of 
Jingoism, he added: ‘It is possible that wx suffer from the arrogance of 
youth’, a point which a critical posterity has largely ignored in assessing 
his influence — ‘tliat of the strongest combirution of newspapers in tlic 
Utured Kingdom, if not in the world’— on popular feeling about South 
Afnca or the nsc of German power. 

aji 



NORTUCtlFFE 


An incident during the Jubilee march reflected something other than 
the good humour of the London crowds. In Janua^ 1896 the German 
emperor had telegraphed to Paul Kruger, president of the Transvaal, con- 
gratulating him and his people on repelling the Jameson raid. In the 
Diamond Jubilee procession, the German representatives, headed by the 
Kaiser, were booed at some points of the route and at one place, where 
there was a brief unexpected halt, a cockney voice called out to the Kaiser $ 
brother: ‘There’s a post office round the comer, if you want to send any 
more telegrams !’ Behind the caustic London wit was a growing nation^ 
mistrust of German ambitions. It was shown on a larger scale that day in 
the full-throated cheers whidi greeted the strong processional contingents 
from the Empire and colonics. Many readers of tnc Daily ^^ai! had been 
disturbed by die reiteration in its pages of warnings about Germany. In 
its first year they were told that ‘the keynote of modem Germany u 
militarism’ and that there was world danger in 'the inherent brutalit)’ ot 
the German character, which the saving grace of the art of music has 
never destroyed’. The writer %vas Alfred Harmsworth's friend Burgess, 
the R.A.’s son. He had been sent to Germany to write about what he saw 
there. 

On September 24, 1897, the paper published the first of sixteen eye- 
wimess articles, headed 'Under the Iron Heel’, by George Warrington 
Stco’cns, commissioned to follow up Burgess’s tour of investigation. 
Stcevens came back convinced *diat Germany will keep her hands free to 
deal with us. Let us make no mistake al^ut it. For the next ten years fix 
your eyes very hard upon Germany.’ It transpired that the German em- 
peror had been keeping his eye on the Daliy Mail, In his personally com- 
piled chronology of world history from 1878. he named die founding of 
that newspaper as one of the prinapal events in Great Britain in i89<S- foj 
many observers, Germany was the ultimate menace but in the foregroimd 
of world affairs there was a rapidly deteriorating position in South Africa, 
where the Jameson Raid of 1895 had stirred up passions that had not been 
subdued by Dr Jameson’s imprisonment. The rally of Imperial strength for 
the Diamond Jubilee was a comfortmg reminder of likely help in time of 
trouble and a consolation in particular to those who were unable to make 
up their minds whether the decline of Ac British Empire had begun with 
Ae surrender of Majuba Hil! nearly twenty years before or wiA Ac 
opeimg of the Kiel Canal in 1895. Alfred Harmsworth was having both 
possibilities of history pointed out to him in 1897 in letters from Admiral 
Lord Charles Beresford and the Hon. James Lowther, a future Speaker of 
the House of Commons. 

According to Ac Aary, it had been 'a very tiring season’, and as soon as 
Ae official festivities were over, rounded ofFby the great naval review at 
Spithead, Alfred went down to Elmwood to enjoy ‘a completely idle 


232 



‘a factory in bohemia’ 

holiday in beautiful weather’. One of his weekend visitors was Max 
Becrbohtn, not yet the mocking bird of English letters. Another visitor 
Was Charles Dickens’s youngest son, Henry, who had gone down to 
Broadstiirs to give rcathngs from lus father’s works at a Dickens fkte. 
which Molly Harmsworth helped to organize. Htnty Dickens aftcrvs’ards 
wrote to Allred: ‘It is true that my father wrote a Life of Our Saviour. He 
wrote this for his children and the original ms. is now in the Iiands of my 
aunt, Miss Hogarth. With the fullest sanction of the family, she would 
adopt every feasible mcarts in her power to prevent pubheation.' The inter- 
dict was broken thirty-five yean later, when Ac Dail)- Mai) paid ^40,000 
for the serial rights. 

On July 21, Alfred had been called to London by an office complication: 
Narrowly escaped being sent to Holloway [prison] for contempt of court 
by the Daily Afai/,’ A week later, he drew jQ20 petty cash from Reggie 
Nidiolsonand went to Stamford, Lincolnshire, to present prizes at his old 
school. On his way south again, he visited lus mother at her holiday liousc, 
Wentworth Lodge, AJdcbutclu He passed his few days there riding a bi- 
wcle through the quiet Suffo^ banes: ‘delightful’. Before August was out, 
he travcUecT to Scotland for a fishing holiday with his American friend, 
Carson, who had w’orked on some of the early issues of Ansii'ers. There 
were compensations for die poor fishing. ‘Morning at Dunvegan Castle, 
home of the McLeods, where Jolmson and Boswell went; a delightful 
experience.’ On the homeward train, 'G. R Sims joined us‘, a first en- 
counter widi the popular playwright and contributor of ‘Mustard and 
Cress’ to The Referee. ‘He amused us much.' Back in London, he was met 
by his wife: ‘We were delighted to be together again.’ Next day, ‘left 
2,30 to stay wnth Modicr at Aldcburgh’, once more. ‘In evening to ^urch 
with Mother.’ ‘I had a walk swth Mother’, alwaj's with the capiul M. 
‘At Cromer played golf for the first time and liked it.’ That second stay 
at Aldcburgh enabled him to meet Mayson Bccton again. Becton lud been 
a Daily Mail staff correspondent. He lived at Horsey, on the Norfolk 
coast, and he svas to be much concerned in die years to conic widi 
des-cloping die raw materials supply for the Harmsworth publishing 
empire. 

The tremendous expansion of his undertakings was causing Alfred 
Harmsworth. m 1S97, to review his pcnonil status in relation to that of 
his nearest nvil. He unburdened lumselfin alctter to the Earl of Onslow, 
Under-Secretary of Stare for India, dated October 18: 


Dear Lord Omlow, — .My opponent and IHmd Sir George N’esvnfi starred 
the IlfKnirurrr Caert.v and Lord Uosebery promptly recognised his journal 
by a rrwjfd that m the fomution of hii company this year prD\*ed of enormous 
tORimcTcial advantage to him. 



NORTIICUFTC 


On our sidf, owners of newspapers of compararively slight influence are 
rewarded and my predecessor in tne Ewni'nf N'eu-s received recognition, though 
the journal was a failure. 

However, I as ould rather say noilung more on the subject: tlie Part)’ Irtdm 
are no doubt quite ignorant of the revolution whidi die Daily Mail, in its 
infancy at present, is nuking in London journalism. They have never cs’en 
enquired as to the new provincial offshoots I am preparing. The Government 
has an enormous trujont)- and can dbpense with young men and, moreover, 
such of the leaders as know me arc aw'are that I would never sacrifice my 
belief in the need for a strong Imperial and Foreign policy to any personal 
disappointments and annoyana at uie favouring of opponents. 

Pardon ilut worst of bores, the man wiiJi a grievasicc, and again allow me to 
thank you most sincerely for your disinterest^ thought. 

Faithfully yours, 

ALFRED C. HARMS WORTH. 

Alfred was giving his mother /^A.ooo a year. She had the Victorian 
reverence for property. ‘Some more freeholds’, she would say when hrt 
sons asked what me wanted for a birthday present. That Cnristmas, all 
the family except ‘Dot’, who was m India, gathered at the fine old house 
which the elder Harmswotth boys lud boiiglit for their mother, a Que« 
Anne mansion with thirty-five acres bid out by ‘Capability’ Drosvn in 
the rural fringe six miles north-west of Hampstead. Tlicy paid 
it. She wrote to Cecil shortly after uking possession in tlie late autumn of 

1897: 


Poyntets Hall. 

Tottcridge, 

Herts. 

My dearest Cecil,— The letter signed by you all which Hildebrand handed 
to^me came as a great surprise. I had no idea that my dear boys medicated « 
improvement in my income, already a very handsome one— and I can only 
say that I am deeply touched by it and very grateful. 

Your very loving 
MOTHER. 


What the new psychologists were diagnosing as ‘die strain of modem 
life , sent Alfred to Egypt in seardi of rest early in 1 898. There was a letter 
from the poet Henley, just before he left: ‘Would that I, bke you, were 
for Egypt! I am much worried and bedevilled by things in general and 
health m particular.’ 


234 



‘a factorv in bohemia 


Alfred Harmsworth to Frederick Wood: 


Daliabich ‘Horus,’ Assouan. 

9.2.98. 

My dear Fred,— One of die many crimes of middle age is that l am so 
absorbed in business that I neither see nor write to old or, indeed, any Inends. 
Indeed I am become a sort of hermit. »,•. 1 c ■ 

They, and you as my dear father’s oldest and warmest of friends, are often m 
my mind and it was most armoying to me to nu« you at Tottendge t e o cr 

This is the existence you would enjoy. Wc arc living in the classics. You 
must let me pack you ofFhere one day. To be able to survey thirty 
in three or four weeks, to look upon works and records of folia who lud put 
in four thousand years of culture D.C.. makes one regard the Gr«ks and 
Romans, whose work is as plentiful here as anywhere, as people who lived the 

‘^'we Uve bf^Yof glorified houseboat and sail thirty or forw miles a dy. 
shooting, exploring, photographing, as wc choose. That piece 0 town s u 
enclose I too^ from a tomS 4.000 years old. It is a piece of mummy cloth. As 
my dear father would have said, from journalism to robbing the dead 1$ but a 

Thal^W r«dmg here of all things a ‘History 

how it ukes me back to the time when you and I-or was 

youi-fought the neighbourhood boys as wc made our way along the Finchley 

Road. 

You must come and see us on our return. 

Aflecoonately yours always, 

ALFRED C. H. 

The reference to rthddle age. at thirty-three, had aetuanal 
tvhid. a later generation finds it hard to accept. The thought of 
age had been trith Alfred Hitmswoith on his ^metli f 

perhaps also part of his oncettain h«l* contettyhe 
which could be judged by the exceptional buoyancy 
The N,lc trip is\ foon and a blessing. Nct « felt so fit m n y hfe , on 
Fehtuaty .7. On February 5 he had twinen: T do not " ^ 

wtU for years.’ Ho sclf-satis&ction tccaved a tebuff on 
•Gloomy because of the dead, of nvo fegloh "''“"l.iws fao 
swelhng of d,e bp sent him uneasily to the d^ot. tvho relies ed hts leats 

with die information that it 'results from tmld . 

Alfred Hatmsw onh to Cecil Hatmsss-otdi: 


S.S. ’Clyde.’ 



NORTIICUTTE 


From Max [Pemberton] I hear that the preparationi for the magazine go on 
apace. Its producrion should greatly inacase the prestige of our business, for 
pre-eminent as that is at home, it t$ dcprcssingly unxnosvn among the classes ho 
go to the parts of tlic world we have just Iclt. Ttie Strand, Pearsons, and the 
others are evcrywliere. I have been studying all the magazines, English and 
American, closely. Except m prindng matten, I shall be amazed if we cannot 
get the first place. A more interesting field of operations I cannot conceive. 

You muse take Emihe, to whom my fond love and Mary’s, to Egypt one 
of these days. It was the most surpriungty delightful trip of our lives. As for 
dahabieh life, with companions one loves and a goodly store of books, I know 
nothing like it. 

Ncwncs Ins ordered a huge steel dahabieh. Mug! One can hire them in 
plenty in Cairo. He takes a noisy crew about svith him, they tell me, and by no 
means adds to the reputation of our trade. 

Your affectionate brother, 

ALFRED. 


The magazine idea had come up for consideration a number of tinies 
in the previous three years, to Ik pushed away by more pressing concerns- 
Our old project’ was Harmsworth’s diary rcicrcncc when Louis Wain, ut 
artist who made his name and tvrcckcd his mental health by drawing 
nothing but cats, discussed it with liim early in 1893. CutchfTe Hyn®, 
mventor of one of the period’s celebrated fiction characters, Captain 
Kettle, had been commissioned to write articles as part of the preparations. 
Later, in 1893, Beckles Willson liad produced several 'dummies , oruv W 
be told that publication was being deferred for twelve months. Wilisott 
wrote in his cxerrise-book diary: ‘What will people sayf My reputation 
will be riuncd. I shall not be able to face my friends. Harmsworth has put 
position.' The postponement had not been wholly due to 
Alfred s concentrated labours on the newspapers. His brother Harold was 
gouig through one of his panicky phases. He was despondent about tie 
future. War clouds were gathering over South Africa. So overwrough 
was he that he begged Al^cd to agree to their selling out altogether, lest 
mn s ould come. Harold was persuaded to take a rest at Seaford, Susse- . 

° ^ Al&cd. meanwhile, went calmly 

e magazine plan, intending to give as good value for threepen 

^ r Pfomwjj'Oft/i came out in July x^p . , 

yean after the first issue olAmu^s. W.H. Smith & Son deelinedto dt 
Tsh, V *0 Hatmswortlis. To that el=pi““ 
edited iit^ded the mosquito sting of The Satitrdey Re > 

SSl "“dtod Altcd's avridng in the 

Me as braudess, formless, familiar and impudent’. What is . 

ry as our war with Smithy ivas momentarily offset by a na 


236 



‘a factory in bohemia 

advertising campaign which sold 780,000 copies of the magazine s first 
issue, a considerable number of them in drapers and chermsB sh^s. 
Lipton, the provision merchant, conferred wiui his mamgers about dis- 
triouting copies through his chain of shops. The Daily Mail and the 
Emiin? News reported the clash widi Smiths as if a batdc '^ag^d. Maga- 
zine War: News from the Front.’ ‘What America Thinks of Om Fight, 
‘The Bookstall War.’ For some readers die war of i8p8 had nothmg to do 
with the conflict bet\vcen Spain and the United States, hi addiuon 

to the trade aspects of the isputc. Smith’s were accused of censoring the 
contents of tlie publications they distnbuted, Alfred Harmsworth rrccivcd 
letters of support from other publishers and editors ^d from literary 
figures of the day, Conan Doyle and Kipling among tliem. 

Having produced a penny newspaper for a halfpenny, he had ci^ectecl 
to repeat the formula of success by publishing a sixpenny magazine lor 
threepence. For once, the Harmsworth touch failed. The pnee ot me 
Hamsworlh Magazine vm raised to then 4I, \vith no very^ 


wliilc. Alfred Harmsworth had renewed his self-confidcnce W bringing 
out a threepenny magazine for a penny. Under the title of the e y 
Pictorial, it was a bookstall favourite over many years. 


Before rhe old century had ended, Alfred war BOver^B 1 “' 

Ctowing putlirhing realm from a sumptuomly “PP ™ '4 

L flrSr of rhe b.g new frve-rtorey buUdmg o{ red 

muUioned w-indowr that war diancinc rite face o rm , „ , , 

ToUrr Srreer, round the comer. He W naoved m before 'b' 

nroved out. Hrrr called Harmsworth Buildrng, rt w-ar 

House, eomraemoraung tire monasoc order on whose 

votan^r of rhe young nerv century were '"''■r 

Because ,ts foundation, were sunk ra rod redormed from tire Tha^e^; 

budding war for a long period c.-.cmpt from ratn “ “'™S ’ 

year. It had cost nearly half a mrUron pound, and.r bmuglu A= Ha™^ 

worth periodicals and nc^^^p3pe^$ under one roof An ar g ty ^ ^ 

one of Alfred', .dear when the plam for tl.c bur dmg bemg draf.^ 

I. wa, not found porr.ble hccaure dre Harm, word, papen 

er ery floor. A wit referred ro the hnJdmg ar a Cacrory “ Bohemn . 

■n,e new pnnrmg erubhrhment acrorr rhe rrw S 

Southwark, eornng £40.000, had been comp e.rd roo^ 
flow a connnuous stream of Harmsrvorth w cekly pap. V 



NORTIICUFTE 


were devised in response to mcdianical imperatives rather than to meet a 
public demand, though tlie keenest judgment was often sho\vn in deciding 
what type of publication stood me Best chance of finding a market. 
Mostly, they were printed in six-point or even smaller type on grey paper 
and the combination may have been harmful to eyes not so good as 
Alfred Harmsworth’s. Odicr works at Gravesend and Northfleet were 
designed to print The Magazine and the more substantial 

publications of the group. Alfred was now able to tell his shareholders 
that they osvned and operated more rotary presses than any other com- 
pany. He also told them that they were spendmg /too every working 
day on ‘literary contributions’, an item of the balance sheet which he 
rarely failed to stress. St. John, not long down from Oxford, had been 
brought on to the board. Sutton was similarly promoted. Answers had 
beaten Tit-Bits in circulation by several hundred thousand copies a week, 
a fact announced to the shareholders in 1899. 

At one of the company meetings of that year a tall slim young reporter 
on the staff of the Commercial Press Association rose from his place in 
the Memorial Hall, Farringdon Street, to make a suggestion about pro- 
cedure which \vas favourably received by tl»e chairman. After the meeting 
Alfred Harmsworth h-id a brief ulk with the young man, who, he 
suggested, might apply for a post with Harmsworth Brothers Ltd. Noth- 
ing came of it and yet for the young nun, William Derry, of Merthyr 
Tydfil, perhaps everything did. He was nvcnw and probably not im- 
pervious to the glamour of the young head of the Harmsworth enter- 
prises. Strong identifying urges may have been set in motion, for Berry 
lud come to London two years before sviih barely defined ambitions. 
Findmg direction, they bore him on to his own outstanding success in 
Fleet Street, crowned by his propnetorship of the Oaily Telegraph and, 
later still, after Northcliffe's death, by his acquisition of the Harmsworth 
penodicals group. As Lord Camrose, he died in 1954. 

'Big rooms, big ideas’, and Alfred Harmsworth’s Room One at 
Carmelite House had the effect of amplifying his psychic presence so that 
men knew when he was m the building though they had not seen him. 
Room One was boldly spaaous and ornate. Its walls were panelled in 
mahogany. Rows of expensively bound volumes of the Harmsworth 
pubheations gleamed in mahogany bookcases. Each mahogany over- 
mantel, above its fireplace at cither end of the room, was as solidly assertive 
as the pediment m classical architecture. Above one of them was a copy of 
‘.4.1-rjdiaD iibr'phwris*. vir.ritcv.’/ iMarAWVi.iw/ves- 

sion was tempered by an assortment of Empire furniture wliich made the 
room look half-boudoir, an effect embellished by the thick pile carpet 
which cost a thousand pounds and a ci^on portrait of Molly Harms- 
worth resting on an easel amid masses of embowering flowers from the 
238 



‘a factory in bohemia’ 

garden and conservatoriei at Elmwood. A b« of Napoton stood m a 

Window recess. There were silver-ftamed photographs "f ^ 

of his father in wie and gown, on the broad leather-topped desk. At mg t 

rroom was ralant ith the glow of hidden Ughrs Surmn was ahv- 

at hand next door. An office-boy in an Eton sort and collar 

in a comer of the secrenry’s ante-room. Seenung to '"I'i'B'' “ 

Hatmswotth’s personal authority, his .of™?”'!'. 2°°” 

followed by a new note of respect in addressing hrm. He '« “J” 

■Mr Alfred^ mote often -Cliieh A printing .PS'^X^hief” 

the year 1900; 'The American custom of calling a -Joff eitor the Cffi 

seems to be spreading in British joutnabsm. We rather 1 . 

spread far in British joumaUsm. There was no mie else thm, or after, to 

give it the same compelling sanction as Alfred Hd™"™rth 

^His Daily Afail was already established as one of the &'v 

papers that were making money. Pearson was losing £ 'JS ^ 

L Daily Erprrsr. A sign of the '>'0'»'‘lb'S.PoPV)“7,of 

svas the frequency with which it was mennoned on nrivatc 

Under an agreem^t ofAp.il 28, >89*; ^rte JcEan 

company with a capital ot ^200,000. Aj&cd had been pP , , 

and given ‘literary and political control of any pape j chairman 

pany^during his tfe. Harold was made •manager 

during his life’. Alfred took 95.oc» shares, Ryol 4 . brothers 

of Harmsworth Brothers Ltd., Alfred saw to it A'" ’f ^ and 

were well looked after. Cecil go, .6000 ^ The &eS 

Hildebrand 10,000. “'^"'Xwhen evening newspapers 

Neivs was now making Xijo.ooo » year at > « of them ha^ng changed 

were not Wghly regarded as an inve«mcnt. ^ , copies a day and 

bndsinrreLW'-XXr^JXL 

was still nsing. Its shares, valued at irf. , resources 

over, now stood at • The paper gained grea y record price for a 

of Ac Daily AL.il and had periodiml house was pajing 

Single advertisement, ^(^400. The Harms i Pearson 

dividends of thirty per cent. Nessmes ^ 5 reaping further 

fifteen per cent. With in r'''?" .Pl'iX hv‘^iTell o?Son and 
profit, a btanch of publisbing f.rs. oYli W 

Chambers of Edinburgh, die r,aooo ou7of a Life ef C/iritf 

value in fortnightly parts. Cassell had made ^ I sum and 

by Dean Farrar, who sold it oumghe «>' was wrinen 
ne\-cr got over it The Harmsw o^s receved /250 for all rights 

for them by Sir Herbert '' r /, . 000 This was followed 

m the work which showed a Best B.vb— ‘an 

byAV/irti enJ His Ti»'r«and Sir John Lubbock s f ^ jjoiUus- 

enure library of one hundred vofumes. conummg 48.-35 3 



NORTHCUfra 


trations and 20 coloured maps’ — ^and dxc sale of those works led to the 
production of others which easily edipsed anything of the kind that had 
gone before. They were more rewarding in personal prestige than Comic 
Cuts journalism, tliough Alfred had never had any false modesty about 
that and, indeei occasionally flourished its success as one of the exploits 
of his youtli. 

For June 22, 1898, he wrote m theory that he had ‘spent two hours at 
The Times office discussing widi Mr Walter negotiations in regard to that 
paper’. The diary for July 27 notes that Mobcriy Dell, manager of The 
Times, dined tvith him. The History of The Times states that ‘in March 
1898 Harmswortli came for the first time to Printing House Square and 
there learnt from Walter’s lips that the sale to him of any share or portion 
would not be admitted’. The diary has no note of the meeting. Arthur 
Walter, the scholarly Old Etonian head of his family, would have been 
likely to resist any attempt by a young man of thirty-three to influence 
the affairs of The Times, that preserve otvcncrable experience and practice. 

It was known in Fleet Street dut The Times was in difficulties. Apart 
from the very considerable loss of prestige and money incurred through 
the PameU-Pigott case, the conttolung owners, the Walter family, were 
enmeshed m the clauses of a will that was likely to become more onerous 
with the passing of rime. The shares in The Times were divided and sub- 
divided to a point of absurdity. Moreover, its organization and methods 
were out of dace. Whether, thus early, Harmsworth was concerned to 
acquire The Times we do not know, ffiough the History of The Times 
states that it was for him ‘a glittering prize’. For the moment, his interest 
had been provoked by a letter from a Walter granddaughter, Mrs Sibley, 
owner of a fortieth share. Dissatisfied with the management and its pos- 
sible effect on her beneficial interest, she had resolved to take action which 
would force an inspection of the books. Thinking that Harmsworth might 
be a valuable ally, she wrote to him. Hence, no doubt, the meeting with 
Arthur Walter. He also went to see the eminent soHcitor, Sir George 
Lewis, who told him; 'If you purchased die Sibley share, you would be 
purchasing a lawsuit which would be remunerative to the lawyers, but 
not to you.’ The 1898 talks being abortive, he was content to play the 
waiting game. It seems that he also had aojuisitive ideas about the Daily 
Telegraph, a newspaper which it pleased him to call the ‘Daily Bellow- 
graph’ when its policy was out of tune with his own. Hall Richardson, 
manager of the Daily Telegraph for many years, wrote in his volume of 
Fleet Street recollections: ‘Tome, he never disguised his ambition that he 
might one day own the paper.’ The Daily Telegraph was an important 
competitor of the Daily Mail and their rivalry had reached a point at 
which the Daily Mail was challen^i^ die claim of the older newspaper 
that it had the world’s largest arciflation, asserted daily on the front page. 


240 



‘a factory in bohemia’ 

Early in 1899. the Daily Telegraph araiooncea that it was going to pub- 
lish seven days a week. The Daily Mail reacted at once, as if in future was at 
stake. It, too, would pubUsh a Sunday edition. Both pipers began Smday 
publishing on April 9, 1 899- The Daily Mail published six Sunday issues, 
die Daily Telegraph seven. Both had to bow before the storm of pubhe 
resentment worked up by tebgious leaders who fought stoudy for the 
puritan legacy of the English Sabbath, with its millions lounging about m 
consecrated idleness. That institution of ancient decree was thought to be 
threatened by the indifference to it of an equally mcient people, teme- 
sented by the proprietors of the Daily Telegraph, the Uynoa. The 
President of the Newspaper Society reminded readers of the London 
evening newspaper. The Eilw, that the initiidvc m seven-day nesvspapcr 
pubUsliing had been taken by 'one who belonged to a race that doa not 
Lognire our Sunday'. Powerful articles in The Brit, A IPeeHy and The 
MelUist Times led the attack. There were voles of censure &om “e 

Presbyterian. Congregarionalist and Baptist boards of mmistets in ^ndou. 

Secular resistance, inflamed by the possibilinr of ’ S 

deprived of theit day of test, was otganired by the Retad NewsagmB & 
Booksellers Umon. The Daily Mail scored ucncally by ptmting opposi- 
tion views in its columns. 

2p, Dclamere Terrace. 

Westboume Square, W. 

24tJi Niatcli, j88p. 

Dear Sit,-Sinee you ate good enough to 
vievsr about Sunday newspapen, I mint honestly te _ P®. , , , 

have no eonsdenriL setupfe about eneouraging „ 

them eahatisting and unneensary. I have n«cr taken m a Sunday neswpape 
md 1 am glad .0 have one day I week nnlfc die 
of a Sunday newspaper appears to me to ac^niatc c ar> ^ 
trivial monotony of expSenee ssltich is the curw of life nowadaja. 


which h 
I am. 

Your obedient serbint. 
EDMUND GOSSE. 


There wa, a remarkable “““Xmrfan 

Sunday nc%vjpapcr question in England. In die pr lowered tone of 
chnrdimcn hJ^d ^en our strongly agarnst the 

the nation', Suniq- joumahim. Self. K- fcl 

•ta.es iha. 'no cvmi in Engliih hfc since die ^n 

Home Rule Dill m 1S86 attracted more attennon m _, in 

the altcmpt made in tlic spring of 1899 to •“'" , j g,. able in the 
bondon. Each stage of the expenment was "7™” ® “j die 
Ametiean press and commented on in the cditoml column, and sv n. 



NORTIICUFFE 

attempt failed, various expbnatiom were put forward in the Americui 
newspapers and magazines'. The real eatplanarion was that the three mam 
wholesale newspaper distributing companies, and particularly W. H. 
Smith & Son with their railway bookstaU monopoly, were simdly against 
Sunday wotk for their staffs. Smiths* had declined to supply Tlje Obsetvir 
to the Duke of Connaught in camp at Aldershot because it ^ 

Sunday delivery. Tlierc was no explanation of the obstiiucy Law- 
sons and the Harmsworths in persisting in a venture which could hardly 
succeed without that co-operation. Why, then, the venture at all? The 
Newspaper Owner & Manager suggested that the Daily Telegraph pro- 
prieton had ‘expensive machinery and facilities which they do not care 
to sec idle on one day in seven*. The Financial Neifs believed that the 
decision on seven-day publication had been taken because, by long 
custom, company prospectuses were issued on Saturday and supplied a 
substantial part of Suncuy paper revenue from the rates paid for printmg 
them. 

On a morning in the second week of May 1 899, two men w'erc talking 
on the kerb outside Catmehtc House. One was George White, the 
Mail pubhsher, the other James Read, a young Snnaay Daily Mail 
working the provinces. ‘You see those three men going into the hftt 
White said. ‘That’s Alfred Harmsworth, his brother Harold, and Kwinedy 
Jones. They’re going in to kill the Sunday Daily Mail.' Yet both White ^d 
Read had no doubt that the paper would have survived the agitation: they 
had their fingers on the public pulse. The Sunday Daily Mail stopped on 
May 17, 1899, the Sunday Daily Telearapk a week later, the end of an 
inglorious Fleet Street ctuptcr. Within thirty-sbe hours over 
thousand apptovmg letters were delivered at Carmelite House. The 
Sunday Daily Mail announced that it would be transformed into ‘a com- 
plete, artistic, illustrated weekly newspaper, fully recording all the week s 
news and presenting it in a handy ana attractive form’, for sale on Satur- 
day morning. The new name for the paper was Illustrated Mail. It was not 
a success, though the Boer War gave it impetus as an experiment Icadmg 
on to the new daily picture journalism. It had an art staff of talented yoimg 
enthusiasts; St. Mar Fitzgerald, whose line drawings gave new distinction 
to newspaper illustration, Oliver Onions, who became a writer of dis- 
tinguished fiction, Percy V. Bradshaw, founder of the Press Art School, 
David Whitelaw, later editor of The London Magazine and a popmar 
novelist, Barnard Lintott, and Pcnihyn Stanlaws, the American magazme 
illustrator, who brought some of die Dana Gibson charm to his work for 
the paper. The Illustrated Mail paved the way for the Overseas Daily Mau, 
which supplanted it in 1904. The SHtidciy Daily Telegraph retired from me 
fray with the announcement diat its ‘Page for Women’, its serial story by 
Miss Braddon, its special artides by Sir Edwin Arnold, and its chess an 

242 



‘a factory in bohemia’ 

acrostics columns, would in future appear in the Saturday issue of the 
Daily Telegraph. 


Thackeray had compkined about ‘the thorns in the cushion of the 
editorial chair, the heedless unending calls on an editor s energy and tune. 
The assault on Alfred Hatmswotth’s attention was mote intense than any- 
thing of the kind known to Thackeray as editor of The CenMl 
A long admired tenor of the Victorian age, Sims Reeves, tegged out m 

the bitterness of bankruptcy at seventy-five for support or a sc P P , 

national testimonial. T thought my bitth^y, October als , sv 
suitable, as it is also the anniversary of Tra&lgar. How often have I simg 
"The Death of Nelson” and, I add, with very great “"S’' 
now, not perhaps with the same stentorian power, u w , , 
expression of feeling. I must go on working to live, 

Tree was worried because the Ddi'/y A/di/ no lon^r men . ’ 

Her Majesty’s, m its ‘Green Room Gossip . The Countess which 

her astle. ^eaded for ‘a page or two a month m 
to put forward her ideas o? social reform. Lord Wilham , 
from 72 Eaton Place. S.W.. was ‘much distressed 

lud recalled his conviction and imprisonment of two y bottom of 
are a wealthy man of great influence. I am now do^ at bottom ot 
the ladder. Don’t let your paper prevwt me from J^’note 

» only a few. a very /cw. steps’, and A fred 

on the letter: 'I have replied personally, « 1 th § , c.faminalhn of 

unkind to him.’ W. H. Mallock. knoasm for hu 'f of T/^ 

and other works, was aiOTOUS to be n o , Terry 

Bririi/i Revieti>: 'WovJd you consider purchasmg Theatre; ‘Won’t 

implored his help for her charity matinw at would 

you appear as Napoleon crossing the Alps on a hide 6'^ T ^ 

to mS splendid ! ! Please, do help me aU yon >="'>"'•1 
ishke me^mnehn; Conan Doyle had a »<“ '^o IX pUce 
publicanon and 'would there be a chona: ...niitdl' Hall Caine 

provided that it in every way came up to y National Club in 

requested an appointment “icdl Mtoffenec is sympathy 

askmg turn to resign, “ “T"'',"’, , von.' Lady Randolph 

with the Cathohe Church. I should hke to oeeiherl 

ChurchiH’s son Winston had ^v^ttal aborts ory . tnowits fitcf 

which she sent to the Daily ml: ’Wd Wuse 

Sir Douglas Straight, editor of the G«rr«e X^n^my 

haNing nodded to you the other night at Marquess of 

recognition widi a stony stare. I am sore and hurt. The M q 

243 



NORTHClIFFE 


Granby drew ‘Mr Harmsworth’s attention to the regrettable account in 
the Daily Mail of the sad circumstances of the death of his sister, ^dy 
Katherine Manners’. Lord Kelvin, writing from Aix-les-Bains, desired to 
reply to Daily Mail criticisms of tiiat resort. Madame Melba had been 
annoyed by ‘several people saying that they taught me to sing. WiH you 
print a letter, if I svnte a mcc one?’ Clement Scott svished to be allow^ 
‘to introduce a very clever girl who has a great gift for writing . 

Princess Christian, at Cumberland Lodge, Windsor, wrote on behalf ot 
Surgcon-Major-General Taylor, ‘a man oC^reat culture and having taleni 
with his pen. Lord Curzon requested that ‘your writer about my poor 
wife’s illness be a httle more dreumspea’. Clara Butt, asking forgiven«s 
for troubhng you, would like to introduce a friend, Mr Branscombe 
Wood, who has done a great deal of literary work in Australia .... Mrs 
Beerbohm Tree, at 77 Sloane Sttcct, sent a reminder ‘not to forget to put 
Herbert up for the Automobile Club*. The artist, G. F. Watts, wants to 
know if you will take up the case of education and hammer away at the 
futility of stuffing children’s brains with the dry details of our present 
system’. Lady Dorothy NcvUl, hostess of an age that was passing, wrote w 
her large hand on diminutive notepaper enclosed in a stamp-size envelope, 
asking for attention to be given to a new book by her son, Ralph NeviU. 
Hall Caine urged that it ‘would be God’s work to expose those nasty raB 
of music-hall agents’, because of their behaviour to women. His heart had 
been made to bleed the other day by hearing what happened to a pretty 
young thing of 17’. The editor of T«e Quarterly Review, G. W. Prothero, 
sought advice on conducting that eminent periodical: ‘I should be really 
grateful if you would jot down any ideas on the subject.’ Max Pemberton 
wished ‘you would put the wife nominally on your staff’, so that she 
might qualify for a free voyage to Madeira. Cecil Rhodes desired the 
publication of a speech by him on the tariff question. ‘You can add ^ 
extra sheet to your paper. It is a good speedi and should be pubushe^ 
Lillie Langtry asked permission for a member of the Daily Mail staff, 
Sidney Dark [later editor of The C/ii»rf/i Times], to write ‘advance para- 
graphs’ for her. Madge Kendal appealed ‘to Mr Harmsworth’s kindness 
and generosity’ for pubHcity for one of her charity shows. W. T. Stead 
sent a man ‘who is walking round the world, earning his living as he go« • 
Sir Arthur Sullivan enclosed a letter from H.R.H. Princess Louise, who 
was ‘handicapped by the want of means and overshadowed by others who 
know how to put themselves more prondnently forward. I am so fond ot 
her. I should very much like to bring you together.’ Lady Charles 
ford ‘wants to bring to your favourable notice a friend of mine, Mr Arthur 
Symons, distmguished poet and critic: be bees me to introduce him to 
you’. H. W. Massingliam, editor of die Daily Chronicle, would like to 
enlist your sympathies on bdialf of a young lady who used to work for 


244 



‘a factory in bohemia’ 

The Star when I vns on it’. H. H. Asqmth, of i Paper Buildings, Temple, 
complains that the Daily Mai! has ‘given currency to a ^port that l am 
about to retire from the bar. Kindly have it contradicted. The Poet 
Laureate, Alfred Austin, begs acceptance of some l^^^s-suc^h « I have 
hid printed for the Queen’— for publication: I cannot help thmkmg that 
a large sale would result.’ 


Father R. R. Dolling to Mrs Alfred Harmsworth: 

Elmwood, 

St. Peters. 

[^Undated] 

My dear Mr. Hatmtwotth.-Wc ..id the Gu.ct.l 
—for four perfect weeks svithout one single tj i,. j e-j yj but 

think you and Harmswortli guessed what you have a p ■ 

you can only guess it. I know it and am. therefore. 

Yo„t.gt,.efuUy»d.pp^-jly. 

Alfred’s adnucatiou for Doling had grown ^HaS 

meeting at Portsmouth, during the elccuon left^Pottsea to 

fallen out with hi, hi, hup on mual -“'r ’ f itfJt^ 

work in the East End parish of St. Savtout s Pophr mth m «Mcn 
Church of England school. Alfred was atttacle J religion as 

which Doling showed in his Ufc q E. Osborne, wrote 

joyous expcnencc. Dolling s biographer, t . was 

that Alfred was 'the most ^"5"^ , Catccllzing th^ pupils of the 

Doing’s financial mainstay at St. Savlou . parisht’ 

school, Dolling asked: Now, boys, wh ^ once’ ‘Please, sir, 
A shout came from several parts of the dasstnom at once. Pleas 

Mr Harmsworth!’ . • „ •pimwood It added a 

^ In .898, Alfred had bonghtJoss Patm a^on^g Htnwood. 

farmhouse, land and cottage^ the Alfred started 

to the North Foreland chifs. 

a boys summer camp. It provided a m 7 before. The 

of St. Saviour’s school and pansh. Ij^y . , *,^ 3 , pathetically 

outdoor life to most of them’, fire camp 

nnfamihar.’ Grateful memories survive. One ol the oia o^ 

recalls Alfred’s visits, ’m a daading wdutc sighing of the 

Bob, a. his heels. He always tried « l>=,P«“"' *‘ 0 * ^ put L most 
boys a, ,he end of their holiday. To XK S Brisbane, 

weight, he gave a sovereign. The present P 



NORTHCLIFFE 


Australia, was a young curate at St. Saviour’s, the Rev. Reginald Halsey. 
He remembers speaking to Alfred about the future of St. Saviour’s boys 
after leaving school. ‘I will almys give a promising boy a chance in my 
businesses’, Alfred told him; and die Archbishop recalls that more than 
one boy did well as a result. Alfred told the camp commandant, the 
devoted headmaster of St. Saviour's Boys’ School, Frank Matley, to 
let him know of suitable St. Saviour’s boys when school-leaving time 
came. ‘What would my poor East End boys do without Harmsworth? 
Dolling wrote. ‘No one can tell what he done for my dear lads.’ 

Maintaining the camp wholly at his own expense for sixteen years, 
contributing to the funds of a similar camp for St. Saviour’s girls, run by 
Dolling’s sister, and later to the home of rest at Worthing which com- 
memorated DoUing’s life and work, as well as making a regular annual 
allowance to Dolling for his church school, cost Alfred Harmsworth large 
sums. He had his reward in the gratitude of Dolling and his boys and in 
the opportunity to live up to his most generous impulses. 


246 



chapter Ten 


Dawn of a New Age 


Alfred could afford now to leave the imnagement of 

wUch were still moltiplying almost vnth afer 

brothers. Harold wto i control of the finances. Cetd 

A»jn.ers and The Hermewclh M„s«zi«e.Thc 

department with a group of editors under Inm. Ans ^ ^ho 

stifi heing se.it to Afiel and the efitot of any f ™ liSy 

Euicied himself beyond the '^^‘l^l^hy dowu allow your artist 

to get shocks when he least expected them. y li:- - refers its 

to Iraw thm policemen. Surely you are 

pobce to be fit and kindly. ' Someumes the tone was arbitra^ry. ^ 

rare % — > >=^1 story. was about to depart on 

wnter. Omniscience could Ik harsh it me jent. 

his annual holiday or the serial wnter of newspaper power. 

Primaray.Alfredwasconccntratmgonthere^om 
Up to that time, had be^ con^t w.^He ^ 7 

ofeompheated high-speed decision written about it with a 

to the public whose interot Hamsworlh Magazine: 

novice’s enthusiasm m the nrsi mu 

When you casually and carelessly Srproduct of a score of 

often do you realize, even if you are aw . y/ot\i. the operation of 

busy organizations, with tentacles sprea of the age; that unhmited capital 

which involves the best brains and nu^ continual appearance 

and thought are devoted to » P^^^^^^ghc and sleep by day; that its 
has created a new class of men who wo gjthcrmg of us news Ae 

Astribution requires the use o spe telephone offices; that the public 

opening at night of telegraph, o Scandinavian and American forests 

appetite for reading is sweeping Y . paper itself is made; inj 

for the manufacture of Ac wood pulp oi 



NORTHCLIFFE 


that the very journal you are reading may have formed part of a growing tree 
a month ago! 

There was in daily journalism a dynamic drive not to be found in 
periodical editing and publishing. His determination that the Daily Mail 
should have an iinriva lied nesvs service secured a considerable part of the 
million circulation which it had attained by the end of 1899. His resolution 
in that matter had been reinforced by a news story wliich had stirred the 
nation in 1897. Tlie Daily Mail had beaten its rivals with its account of 
the grounding of the P. & O. liner Adeii off Socotra, in which many lives 
were lost. Forty-five persons had spent seventeen days on the wave-swept 
ship, hourly expecting death. At the height of the storm, on June 20, tliey 
had sung the national anthem as a Diamond Jubilee salute to Queen 
Viaoria. The night editor struck out that part of the story, thinking it an 
inventive touch by the Aden postmaster, from whom the nesvs had 
procured. It was afterwards confirmed by the survivors. Commending 
the night editor’s desire to avoid sensationalism, Alfred Harmsworth 
rcsolv^ to aeate a world-wide network of accreited Daily Mail repre- 
sentatives. He wrote: *11115 meant nothing less than the appointment of 
special correspondents in every important centre throughout the world; 
the whole face of the earth being so mapped out that nothing could happetj 
anywhere without coming under the immeiate cognizance of a paid 
representative having facilities for transmitting the news direct to the 
London office,’ He lost no dmc in setting up his hemispheric news corps 
with the help of the able men around Wm and Kennedy Jones in parti- 
cular. There was to be no counting the cost. Soon tlic piper had a nc\ys 
service unequalled m scope by any o dicr newspaper and eclipsed only jn 
authority by that of T/ie Times. The success of the Daily Mail was largely 
built on tlut reputation. 

At this point it is appropriate to bring forward for examination the 
statement which has appeared in the several reprintings of the historical 
survey. Bt^land: iSyo~lpt4, by R. C K. Ensor, that a Daily Mail nWJ 
story of the Boxer Rising in tpoo was ‘evidence of the Icngtii to which it 
would go for scnsitioniism*. The paper had received a cable from its 
Shangliai correspondent (apperinted on tbe rccomniendarion of a well- 
known British firm ofChina merchants and, according to H. W. \VUson. 
chief leader writer of the Daily Mail, ‘liighly paid and peculiarly 
qualified to sift news from Chinese sources”) reporting the murder of the 
German minister in Peking, Baron von Kcttclcr, and the burning of 
forcim Icgauons. Tlie message was referred at once to the Foreign Office, 
wludi replied that no word had come from PeUng for three weeb wd 
that there were grounds for bclicsnng that a massacre had occurred. The 
Shanghai man was asked for confirmation. He replied emphasizing the 

248 



DAWN OF A NEW AGE 

importance of the news. Meanwhile, in London, every source of likely 
information was consulted, while the forci^ editor of the Daily Mail 
cabled Shanghai agmn, urging ‘extreme caution . The correspondent re- 
affirmed the reliability of his information and another ShanMai news- 
paper representative endorsed it. In die House of Commons, the I.^dcr- 
Secretary for Foreign Affairs said; *We can hardly dare to hope that m 
substance the reports of the massacre arc inaccurate. Kennedy Jones 
recorded; ‘There was no confirmation of the news but all admitted iK 
extreme possibility. Finally, we decided to pubhsh the cablegram, t 
been held back three days while the inquiries were made. At the same 
time, the message was communicated to other London newspape^ wt 
a statement of its origin. They printed it, T/ie Times among them. T ere- 
after, there was a silence of several weeks; no further reports came out o 
North China. The Times published obituary notices of presumed vtctims. 
A memorial service was arranged at St. Paul’s Cathedral. On August 15, 
an international force reached Peking. It found aU safe cxc«t the German 
minister, who had been murdered, as the original cable had state . _ 
Al&cd Harmsworth ordered an immediate on-the-spot mvcsugatioD. 
W. J. Evans, who had become editor of the Evenias Nei^s, w« «o$en to 
conduct it. He left for China by the first available passage. The Shangh^ 
correspondent, he found, had too literally accepted rumovn put about by 
the cCnese Government for inscruuble reasons whi^. it ^vas beheyci 
counted on a fkvourable reaction of pubUc opinion when it was seen ^at 
the rebellion had been magnified by the foreign ^ 
ne Times ptmted a letter from a reader quoting the book 
above as authority for denouncing that old Med news 
invention’. The Times could have looked back to its 1 

dut it made the follosving comment in pubhslrag a e 

w.mcy, ,hc foreign editor of the Doily Th' 

heen sent to us tvith this letter from the Daily A/flil office p 

>11 respects ™th the descnptton of foein given m 

tlmive as to foe good EUtlt of the Daily Mail m ”X‘ 

foe massacres in Peking nansmitted by its correspondent “ foe 

Mobetly BeU. the assrsLt manager of Tfe Timas. "™' 

Dally A W quite innt^tly nnsled us. osvmg to foe over-real ol a coire- 

who, while notouestionmg for P“P'“ 

^nc upset by the lurid headings used m prcsmMg ^test dis- 
form sL foe^ectot of Hamsvonhy. Dotset. Hn >«'" P““' 

turbed Alfred Hatmssvotth, who since hr. Aasims 
tuliily sensinve to criticism from clergy o c . 

R. D, BInmenfeld. doyen of Fleet Imil 

'"'irs, recalled that die pubheauon of the Pekinj, ^ 


349 



NOSTHCUFra 


Harmsworth ‘intense anxiety*. BlumenfcU asserted: ‘He was innocent, 
completely innocent.’ The diief sab-editoc of the Euenitig News, William 
Colley, through whose hands die Pddng story also passed, said that there 
was never any doubt about the good faith in which it was published. 
‘I verily believe that Alfred Harmsworth would readily have sacrificed 
every sou he had to repair the shock to the public conscience. His honour 
never shone brighter than on that occasion.’ Later investigations showed 
that the correspondent in Shanghai was not as well qualified for that 
position as had been supposed. The Daily Mail foreign editor was in- 
sufficiently informed of his credentials, a procedure made difScult in a 
sudden news crisis such as that of the Boxer Rebellion. 

Although ‘yellow press’, the opprohrious American epithet, had often 
been flung at Harmsworth’s newspapers by those to whom a halfpenny 
paper was necessarily the invention of cheap minds, his personal attitude 
to irresponsible journalism was never tolerant. Sensationalism is not 
necessarily exaggeration or untruth. In the Harmsworth press it was the 
violent energy of a new generation challenging the smug assumptions and 
methods of me old. Those who charged Alfred Harmsworth svith its 
worst excesses might have been more accurate in citing his tendency to 
confuse news svith views. In that matter he was very much the victim 
of his temperament. World events had enlarged his perspective of per- 
sonal power. Th^ made it impressively clear that life hacf more in it for 
him than the writ of the blue pencil, me green eyeshade and the rotary 
press. Journalism, he saw, could be more than die mal^g of a newspaper. 
It could be leadership. He had brashly tested that inmlicarion in the 
winter of 1898 by offering a prize for the best suggestion mr a new Liberal 
Party programme. Thousands of postcard entries were received from 
members of Liberal and Radical associations and dubs urging a revision 
of Liberal policy and the selection of a more actively alert leader than Sir 
William Harcourt, the Whiggish aristocrat with the ship’s prow jaw. The 
offiaal Liberal press treated Harmswotth’s audacity with scorn. It became 
consternation when Harcourt resigned, Harmsworth had shaken if not 
convulsed a great English pobdeal party. 

His voice echoes from die close of a famous decade; ‘The great world is 
becoming very interesting. Parish pomp politics ate giving way to world 
affairs.’ The stormy international atmosphere of 1897-1900, with its %var 
between Turkey and Greece, between the United States and Spain, the 
clash with France over Fashoda pn die course of which the Daily Mail 
assailed the French Government wirfi lashing scorn), the ‘scramble iof 
China’, the German Emperor's 'mriled fist’ proclamation, the fighting in 
the Sudan and South Africa, had shown that he was now in a position to 
propagate information and opinion about global happenings. He had 
made preparations for reporting die war in South Africa on a scale never 
250 



DAWN OF A NEW AGE 

before attempted by a newspaper. He engaged special trains, called them 
the 'Daily Mail war express’, and by reaching out to the Midlands and 
the North of England pushed the paper’s sale up to a million copies, the 
world's largest daily circulation. ‘While his special writers, G. W. Steevens, 
Charles Hands, Julian Ralph and Edgar ‘Wallace, were keeping a 
of readers better informed about far-off events than any newspaper 
public had been before, he was meering the pohey-makers at the centre 
and finding himself elevated to the rank offbrmidablc opponent, important 
ally. He could meet Salisbury, Cedi Rhodes. Rosebery and Balfour as one 
of the men of his time. He could invite his oldest rival to dine with him in 
Berkeley Square. Sir George Newnes was still living in Putney. 

Historians of the period have taken up a sternly critical stance in review- 
ing his attitude to the Boer War, as reflected in his newspapers. Few have 
been fairly disposed towards him as a young man commanding larger 
resources of publidty than anyone else and using it as an instrument of 
the popular mind. There is a lack of realism in regiuring early fortune to 
be matched by magisterial responsibility; and if the reputation of the 
young Alfred Harmsworth was vulnerable, it was abo exposed to indict- 
ments that were a condemnation of a general sentiment rather than of 
individual wickedness. He acted in the light of his day, which blazed with 
patriotic excitement. He divined the pubhc mood. He did not initiate it. 
That was both a reaction from Benthamite Liberalism and a response to 
the rcvivmg warrior spirit in Europe. The South African war was the 
Utcsi stage m a long ferment of history which had still not reached its 
climax. By stirring me brew with his imperialistic fervour, his reiterated 
scorn of Little Englanders, his whipping up of popular feeling when it 
seemed to be drooping from war weariness, his ‘Absent-Minded Beggar 
Fund’, based on KipUng’s imheroic jingle by whidi the Daily Mail raised 
jfioy.ooo for soldiers’ families, Alfrw Harmsworth incurred the dis- 
pleasure of posterity without compromising his integrity as a journalist. 
He had decided, after earnest consultations, not to attack the appointment 
of Sir Redvers BuUcr to the war command, thinking it against the national 
interest to do so, though he had no faith in Buller. He had publicly 
approved Marlowe’s judgment m suppressing a ivar message that was 
found to be false, though it was punted by other newspapers whose 
editors had the same choice. The consequent destruction at thousands of 
copies of the Dailv Mail that had already gone to press was a direct loss 
andcaused much lu-feeling among flic newsagents. But public confidence 
was intensified and letters of appredation poured in from all parts of the 
country.’ At an Euening Netas company meenng in 1899, he had con- 
gratulated Kennedy Jones ‘particularly on the way he h^ kept your paper 
free of war sensationalism . As editor of Pearson s Daily Express, R. D. 
Blumenfcld was a diligent watcher of the Daily Mail. He could write also 


251 



NORTHCUFFE 

as a former nmvs editor of the Daily Atril: 'Alfred Harmsvvotth svas a 
careful and conscientious purveyor of news. I never knew him un- 
wittingly to disseminate inaccurate information. 

Encouraging the nation’s aggressive instinct, he was a no less thorougH- 
going critic of Government hsJf-measurcs and muddlmg in the proseim- 
tion of what was to be known as ‘Ac unnecessary war’. When his spwl 
correspondents disclosed BritiA artillery weakness at Ac front, he raised 
Ac call for more and better guns. Remembering thi: Sudan, he wrote a 
leading article calling for an investigation of the meAcal services in Sou 
Africa, declaring Aemmadequatc. His independent attitude led to a senous 
clash 'wiA Whitehall, which retaliated by cutting off the supply of oHiaa 
information to Ac Daily Mail. When me paper published the iniomu 
tion, made available to it by other London papers, its cAtor was accused 
of bribing War Office clerb, a charge which tlie proprietor aimomccd 
would be followed by a writ for libel if Ac Secretary of State for 
St. John Brodrick (later Lord MiAeton), repeated it out of Parliament. 
An attempt made to have Harmsworth summoned to Ac bar of tlm House 
of Commons was defeated by 222 votes against 1 28. Those crises between 
Ac HarmsworA press and Parliament raised constitutional issues “P" 
portance to Ac later relations of Fleet Street with Downmg Sweet. T e 
pattern of protest was to be repeated on a dramatically intensified seal 
in Ac greater war that was to come. . , 

Throughout Ac Boer War, Alfred HarmsworA was closely in to^ 
with Government circles. He was fricnAv wiA Balfour. He was m jfc- 
quent and mtimate correspondence wim George Wyndham, 
Secretary of State for War. Lord Selbome, Under-Secretary ,■ 
Colomes, wrote privately and persuasively to him when his Daily A 
policy appeared to hinder that of Ac Government. Salisbury s pnvatc 
scCTetary, Schomberg Macdonncll. was constantly in his company- Harnis- 
worA had access to Salisbury pcnonally, although Ac Prime Minister w« 
defiant of newspaper power. They Ascussed Germany. HarmsworA as 
Ac Prime Minister whcAer it was not possible to come to a final un er 
standing with the Germans. Salbbury, after one of his alarmingly long 
silences, had replied: ‘We find Germany a very expensive friend , an 
from then on HarmsworA deemed it his duty to keep his readers m 
formed about Ac trenA of German policy, fint sketched in Ac reports 0 
his special wnten visiting Germany in 1896-7. Of what Aose trm 
might lead to, he seems to have had no doubt. Before the Boer War 
cndeA he was foreseeing war wiA Germany. ‘Tomorrow may be ^ 
day of world-wide conflia’, lus paper proclaimed in 1900 and he urge 
his fellow-countrymen to be ready. He told R. D. Blumenfcid: My 
view 1$ that Ac Germans are being led definitely and irrevocably to 
war on the rest of Europe and that Vfc will have to take part in it. 


* 5 * 



NORTHCUFFE 


sary. I remember but one in my life diat can begin to vie with it for utter 
samiess. 

Oddly enough, I dreamed of him this morning. His voice is in my ears as I 
write. 

Yours most sincerely, 

W. E. HENLEY. 


The poet was further moved to write that ‘there was lost in George 
Steevens as fine a spirit, as rate and as completely trained a brain, and as 
brave a heart as we have to show’, and Rudyatd Kipling, also, was in- 
spired to pen valedictory lines. Steevens’s death was one of Alfred’s lasting 
sorrows. He svas obsessed to die point of horror by the notion that he was 
responsible for it. He had a portrait of Steevens posthumously punted by 
the Hon. John Colher. The death in action of another member of the 
staff, Sergeant Gilham, a young assistant in the Daily Mail library, touched 
him hardly less deeply. The tears would fill his eyes when he spoke of 
Gilham yean after, said H. W. Wilson, the leader writer. He gave a rifle 
shooting trophy bearing Gilham’s name. Two years after Steevens’s 
death, me special scholarsl^s committee of the City of London School 
accepted an anonymous offer of ;(|3,ooo for founding G. W. Steevens’s 
scholarships in journalism. In the official history. City cf LenJett School 
(BlackweU, 1937), Alfred Harmsworth is named as the donor of ‘a muni- 
ficent anonymous present’, and confirmation of it is to be found in Courts 
Bank ledgers, Several prominent Fleet Street careers had Steevens’s 
scholarships as their springboard. 

Henry W. Lucy (‘Toby, M.P.’, of Ainr/i) to Alfred Harmsworthi 

42, Ashley Gardens, 
Victoria Street, SW 
March 6, 1900 

Dear Mr Harmsworch,— As an old journalist T cannot refrain from telling you 
wifo what pleasure I hear of your munificent provision for Mrs Steevens. The 
action is worthy of him and of you. 

Yours faithfully, 

HENRY W. LUCY. 


The conung of the motor-cat had aiabled Alfied Harmsworth to widen 
the circumference of his domesric life. Ma^y, it had been centred in 
36 Berkeley Square and Elmwood. But Elmwood was not the kind of 
country house in which MoUyHarmsworth could take much pride. It svas 
too much of a business conference centre, affording little scope for her 


254 



DAWN OF A NEW AGE 

social gifts. In August 1899 he had taken a furnished tenancy of a large 
Georgian country house, CaJeot Park, near Reading: according to the 
diary, ‘for a year’s trial’. In September of the same year he toOK Thor- 
rington Hall, Darsham, Suffolk, for the pleasure of his friends who hked 
shooting, a sport which he avoided. It gave him no satisfaction whatever 
to kill birds. Abo, he was always preoccupied by thoughts of work and 
feared the risks of absent-mindedness when carrying a gun. Thorrington 
did not suit him; he suffered from ‘intense and imemal’ chills there, pain- 
ful and exasperating’, he told Sutton. ‘I would rather be ill in London. 

His expanding prominence was accompanied by a contracting relish for 
the more extravagant amenities of wcaldi. For him, one of the cliief 
pleasures of being the tenant of Calcot Park was its nearness to Hurley, 
on the Thames, where Reginald Nicholson rented a cottage. Alfred spent 
almost as many of hb weekends there as at his country mansion. A time 
would come when he would abandon the ornate splendours of Room One 
at Carmelite House and be often found at work in its small annexe and 
when he would indulge the eccentricity of exchanging his own bedroom 
for his valet’s in large hoceb. 

He had bought ms first motor-car, a 6 h.p. Panhard-Lcvassor, once 
/C^oo, in the spring of 1 899, though he had motored in France before ihm. 
His mother svas one of his fint passengers, W, E. Henltn' another. "The 
poet celebrated the experience by svnting what 
poem, a set of uninspired verses entitled of SptcJ, dedicated to Alfred 

Hinnsworth. The motor<ar was still sumdently novel to rank as an 
excuse for absences from the office, and Alfred’s motoring, from 1899 on- 
ward, gave a decisive impetus to the revolution on die roads. Ws httle 
yellow high-seated 6 h.p. Panhard was the first motor-or seen in many 
of the towTu and villages of south-east England and^ a ride in it was an 
exclusive treat for the crippled bo)^ who could not join in the games at 
Elmwood camp. . , 

In July 1899 he lud surted off, *at a moment $ nodcc , to dnvc to 
Oldham to help Winston Churchill in an election campaign there. On die 
''■ay north, he sUyed a night with the Uiffes, ‘whose children I had not 
»«n since I left Coventr)- m 1887’. Rve punaurcs, one a£tn the odicr. 
frustrated die attempt to fcacli Oldham: ‘very disappointing, though 
pleasant trip'. 

Winston ChurduU to Alfred Harmsworth: 

3ja, Great Cumbalmd Place. 

W. 

July 7th. tSpo 

My dear Ilaniii\s*orth, — I writcyooonly a very briencttcr--juit to thank v^u 
for your kindness in supporting me during the Election in the D.Al.: and lor 
your advmnrrous expedition in the motorcar. 


3S5 



NORniCIlFFE 


I am Sony that neither of our enterprises were successful in connection with 
Oldham. But I don’t expect my career or your car ^v^l be seriously damaged- 
Once more thankmg you. 

Yours sincerely, 

WINSTON S. CHURCHILL. 

On August B he had set out to visit Rudyard Kipling at Rottingdean, 
but got no further thin Wimbledon because of breakdowns. Driving over 
to Broadstairs, his French chaufleur panicked at the sight of a horse 
crossing the road and steered the car so sharply to the side that it ran up a 
bank and overturned, pinning its owner underneath. He was pulled out, 
badly shaken, bs arms temporarily paralysed. It was one of the first 
recorded motor-cat accidents. The occasion is remembered by Max 
Pemberton’s son Alfred (after hts father’s great friend). Alfred Harms- 
worth liad been taken to The Gore, an Elizabethan farmhouse near 
Minster, where the Pembertons were then hving, not fat from the scene 
of the accident. Alfred Pemberton writes: T %vas five years old. It was my 
first meeting ivith Alfred Hanmworth. 1 recall him then as a fair, hand- 
some man who greeted me witlx a smile that would have melted a gladcr, 
and the words: "Hullo, cocky!" ' 

Soon England was as full of strange noises as Caliban’s isle and not a 
few of them issued from the varied assortment of cars that filled the coach 
houses of Calcot Park that summer: several Gardner-SerpoUet steam-cars, 
a Locomobile, a 6 h.p. Daimler, a single cylinder Renault, a I2 h.p. 
Panhard, a 20 h.p. Parihard and a 40 h.p. Mercfdfes. Calcot Park was the 
first stop (for a champagne breakfast) in the r.ooo Miles Trial of the early 
spring of 1900, when sixty-five out of eighty-three entered cars toured 
the country on a run which had its base line benveen London and Bristol 
and its apex at Edinburgh. Desenbing the event as ‘areally great and pict- 
uresque idea’, The Autocar stated that *no better plan for familiarizing the 
public with cars and their capabilities could possibly have been devised’. In 
June, a motor show at Richmond had been a considerable attraction, but 'the 
British public was not to be inveigled from its love of and belief in the 
horse merely because the cars disported diemselves in the grounds of the 
horse show. Something more practical was wanted’. At that point, Claude 
Johnson, first secretary of the Automobile Club of Great Britain and 
Irelmd (‘With wHch is Incorporated the Self-Propelled Traffic Assoda- 
lion’), afterwards The Royal Automobdc Club, went to Harmswotth 
with the plan for the 1,000 miles trial run. Johnson wrote: ‘He at once put 
his purse at the club’s disposal and he gave the scheme the utmost possible 
support in his papers at a time when other journals were scoffing at the 
automobile as being a chsagreeable and unnecessary playtliing of a few 
cranks.’ 


2J6 



DAWN OF A NEW AGE 
aim Harmswoith took part in *e run as 
Ms 12 h.p. Panhard, by the gaping 

sidered'the last word , admired as much by ..wonderful ’ according 
sightseers along the route. . t', uft on it 

to' The Autocar, 'and the man who was lucky anotig g 
over any section of the tour was ‘“sdJal of 

might reahae the bUss '^X"l„nJess covetousness over that 

harmless idolatry and quite as much -r,. r^tyarded as exceeding 

Panhard.’ In it, Alfred covered ‘^“'““^^^Xble. He Mght nothin| 

the mileage of the small engine power York In 1900, he 

of drivini to Scotland, ^th an s^ere 

motored hundreds of miles m France. . P . health as the 

afterwards considered “ ^ ™l'‘S'wi euSuntedtythenew 

extravagant cycling feats of hs eaily y • ‘It is like being mas- 

sensation of speed. He found a poeoc phras 

sagedinahighwind.' We was shown in his perception of the 

as sensittveness to ^ould be established as a social 

successive stages by which the motoc-ca Jir^cror of Rolls-Royce, 

force. Claude Johnson, writing Utet as managmg 
could testify: 

It will be impossible for me ever to of the motor-cw 

saw in front 0 of “the inotor<af by aU 

movement. He saw coming the f the faiAnes of transport 

classes, except a few enthusiast^ th» the ” ^ the inevitable purchase 

which the motor-car could aferd, and, c in the dislike of the 

of motor-cars by dre rich, tten a Md ha swept away 

motor-car by the poor, until the °?P° „_ihe motor-bus. 
by the institution of the poor man s m 

When, early in the century, John 

Lord Montagu of Beauheu, started his si^ belief that the motor- 

tratei, AlfredVnswor.h tgrfc -t yet ptoperly 

car will rcvolutiomze the life o* exception of Mr Balfour . 

foreseen by any leader of thought, w P j 

The Ca, Ilhulraled had for its youghinno more 

Sea and Air. The ait qualifieaoon was a ^ McanwWle, motoring 

than six years it would be j and his editorial staff woijd 

was still so much of an ad venture that M | vij ,, the sound of a 

tush to the office windows, overlooking PlccaUiliy, 
mocotMur engine in the traffic below. :„„malism of the motor-car 

Alfred Harmsworth’s id' Molars and Motoring, being 

were embodied in more permanent ^ 

257 


NORTHCUFFE 


volume 29 in The Badminton Ubrary, a book publishing enterprise begun 
by Longman’s in the 1880s under die patronage of the Duke of Beaufort. 
More immediately eiTcctive was the letter he wrote to the Automobile 
Club on July 7, 1900, urging the dub to start a campaign against the 
county councils of England and Wales, which were resisting the coming 
of the motor-car. As a direct result of the letter, the Local Government 
Board was persuaded not to take action on the recommendation of the 
councils, ‘undl die members knew a little more of their subject’. Deputa- 
tions from the councils were invited to meet members of the club and to 
‘gain knowledge concerning motor-cars by taking drives in them*. Two 
years later he was predicting that by 1920 ‘traffic will be regulated by 
policemen on motor bicycles’, and that ‘fruit, flowers and vegetables will 
be arriving in cities from die country by means of swift motor delivery 
vans’. 

Demands for Harmsworth’s advice as a motorist were adding new 
burdens to his correspondence. 


22a, George Street, 
Hanover Square. 

Dear Mr Harmsworch.— I hear you have a Frenchman with your ars who 
understands those built by Panhara. Hierc b something %vTone with mine but 
neither my engineer nor myself can out what. It would be avrfutly kind 
if you cd. let your man just sec mine— any morning about nine o’clock. 

Yours truly, 

SHREWSBURY & TALBOT. 

pother motoring peer. Lord Onslow, asks for figures of car maintenance. 
‘I wonder if you keep any accounts which would enable me to estimate 
the cost. Of course, I could not afford the infinite variety of cars that you 
possess; but I am seriously considering whether it would not be worth 
while to put down all horses except hacks.’ There were now fewer 
references in Alfred’s diary to ‘The Granville’, the Pullman train which 
for so many years had carried him to Broadstairs. Soon there would be 
no more. 


* * * 

While he was enjoying all over again, with fresh excitements, the 
pleasures of die open road, die rapid es^ansion of his publishing activities 
was already taxing the resources of Carmelite House and an overflow 
building was acquired in Bouverie Street. Carmelite House vibrated with 
professional enthusiasm and ‘Mr Ajfrcd’-worship. ‘It was like being behind 
the scenes at a theatre,’ was die lenumscent comment of one who worked 


258 



DAWN OF A NEW AGE 


in the art department. ‘Always there was the feeling of the unseenpresence 
of Alfred Harmsworth. You felt compelled to give of your best, even 
though, night after night, you missed your last train home,’ Members of 
the mechanical staffs stepped out to a near-by public-house for a break at 
II a.m. On their return, they made a habit of bowing in mock gravity 
towards Room One. 

In a five-minute interview with a sDghtly built, lively minded Cockney 
clerk named Wareham Smith, Alfred created the advertising department. 
Until then, advertising had functioned automatically as part of the business 
side, under Lin^ird. ‘Don’t go out after your advertisers,’ Alfred com- 
manded Smith. ‘Wait for them to come to you’, and soon they were 
lining up to buy the paper’s increasingly cxpoisivc space. A ‘white sale’ 
display advertisement by the London drapery house of D. H. Evans Ltd. 
had a convulsive effect on the growth of the new advertising science. 
When rival drapery houses illustrated their Daily Mail advertisements 
tivith line drawings of women in underwear, Wareham Smith’s desk was 
heaped with letters of moral protest. 

Advertising not only enabled Alfred Harmsworth to pay the highest 
Nvaees and salaries and cates to contributors but to boast «out it. Yet his 
underlying resistance to the advettising necessity was never finally guellcd. 
He would comment in writing that ‘Wareham Smith b a damned 
ninsance. He has ruined today’s paper.’ He would tell hb editors to throw 
out too-obtrusivc advertbemems. He himself often cast them aside within 
minutes of an edition going to press. Opening the Daffy Mail one morning 
soon after Wareham Smith had been appointed, he wrote on seeing a 
certain advertbement that he had ‘felt like a bird wounded with an 
arrow’. Yet he would hardly have been amenable to the argument that 
the press is a parasitic part of the national economy, producing no wealth 
of itself and using great quanddes of imported raw material, ivhercas 
adverrising directly stimulates the processes of production and distribution. 

Patronizing his advcitben, reacting violently &om their wrong stresses 
and false claims, educating them in the more intelligent uses of type and 
display, Alfred HarmswortVs Daify Mail assisted the integration of 
advertising into a far wider framework than that of Fleet Street. More than 
any other newspaper, it shaped the advettising future by encouraging the 
art of salesmanship through print. So. too, Daify Afaif adverdsing policy 
establisiied a new status for advertising agents. Up to 1900 or so, llicy 
were mainly space brokers. Responding to the pressures of Harmsworin 
censorship, they enlisted the alents of artuts and typographers to make 
advertisements more attractive and therefore more effidenr. Adi’crtbing 
acquired a professional code embodying prinriplcs which had been for- 
mulated in the fint instance for the Daily Man. Once again puritanbm 
and opporturusm lud been joined svith eventful results. 


259 



NORTHCUFTE 


Another department was devdopmg the arts of publicity in new and 
onginal forms. The America’s Cup race between Sir Thomas Upton’s 
Shamrock and the American defends Columbia was an affair of the greatest 
curiosity in two continents and for the 1S99 race the Ei>eni»^ News 
devised the ‘cineyachtograph’, a pictorial screen which enabled large 
numbers of people gathered on the Thames Embankment to follow the 
yachts’ course as news of them was flashed from a chartered steamer off 
Sandy Hook to Carmchtc House. It was the forerunner of a long scries of 
enterprises serving the national interest as well as the good will of the 
Harmsworth newspapers. 

At night, the windows of Carmelite House bloomed with the weird 
dawn light of the new age of picture joumahsm. It was a flaring pale 
luminosity with a ghouhsh smell. The Boer War had stimulated the 
demand for topical pictures. Newspaper offices in Fleet Street had shown 
war maps in their windows. Only one or two displayed photographs. 
They caused crowds to block the pavement. Line drawings were still the 
chief source of newspaper illustration. 

Speed was the bedevilhug urge, the need to save what the aggressively 
edition-consdous Kennedy Jones chose to call ‘golden minutes . Down in 
the big bays on the ground floor, where the delivery vans picked up their 
supplies of Dai/y Mail and Evening News, (he noises of internal combusdon 
engines now mingled with the clatter of horses’ hoofs. The Daily Mall 
war trains, taking the paper to Midland and Northern breakfast tables, 
had been an innovation that was quickly copied by rival London news- 
papers, To keep its drculation supremacy, the Daily Mail had established 
an office and printing plant in Manchester, taking over a derelict school at 
Gorton for that purpose. The claim that the paper was read simultaneously 
in Brighton and NcwcastIc-on-Tyne was soon extended to include the 
farthest points in Scotland and Ireland, alarrmng the proprietors of old- 
established local journals by its ruthless trespass. Permanent Manchester 
headquarters were acquired in Deamgatc in 1902. The Daily Mail was in 
the true sense Britain s first national newspaper. 

In 1898, a newspaper trade journal had reported a persisting antipathy 
to women as newspaper workers. In iS)0i, the same journal recorded the 
opinion that women were not suited to the newspaper life, though by 
then there were several well-known newspaperwomen, among them Miss 
M. F. Billington, of the Daily Telegraph, Miss Flora Shaw, of The Times, 
and Mrs Crawford, of the Daily Neivs. One of them recalled, as an early 
expttvtnte, bting asked tolea«e a conmdttee mcering at vAiidi there was 
to be a discussion of soldiers’ underwear. 

The Daily Mail did much to ^spd a powerful prejudice. In the begin- 
ning, the paper had only one woman on the staff, Mrs Mary Howarth, 
who had been on Answers. She was in charge of the ‘Women’s Realm’ 

260 



DAWN OF A NEW AGE 
in .he mly “ 

£“e“ faseen .he 

Those women were .he '“'W' „Le„ repCers, .hen one 

women edi.ors, women speciahstvviimm 

of .he rarer novelnes “f "O”™ ' ‘ t„enhe*-cen.nry 

Carmehte House there presendy ™ P Alfred Hatms- 

woman journahs., who owes more daan 
wordi's insrinctive apptecianon other possibilities. 


One of H, larger personal comominenK m ^ “een “ 20 W 

Guildford, Sufrey, the »P'“*/ 7 “‘‘aLTftor^Vnl who executed his 

1530 hy Robert Weston, &i*ful servant of Heni? VI 

son, Francis Weston, without “S wtotcs Chatles WHb- 

•To Sutton thronged the grmt nobles of ^ 

ley in The Ptgantry 0/ ‘P s„t,„gly by the green immemorial 

newspaper proprietor, enticed not 1 « . , He took a lease 

blan|icss of its setting than by its \mton ^ home 

ofit J"/”;n‘3fe£;^figure premium cheque in a flur^ 

farm and shooting. He signed tne nv » uncertainty hung m 

of reUef. Up .0 the last moment “SS! Ver^ much 

the ait. Another wotdd-be tenant hdd 6 ^ P^^ hearing that^s offer 

distressed’, he had wntcenm the J exoeriencing ifnot recording 

might not go through. Before long, ^ England’s show 

kindred emotions as ie responsible P ^cwly defined at con- 

places. Neighbouring property tigh ^ ^ ^ 

siderable legal expense. Unsuspected deF«u we 

entailing costly renovations that too y drainaec. The presence 

difficulues about nghts of way, suppply was not without 

of magnesiumsulphate /eaT™ “ “fi 

its inconvenience. Getting the / Harmsworths used Sutton 

months. While die woik was bring done *e Harmsw 

Path Cottage f”' had declined a WEhdlood. Tlr 
Announcing that Altred nan ^ paragraph surmising that 

Neii'spdDtfr Oivner & foil _ «xmi« was caoable of supporting 

he would be offered a ^^lonetCT. j in 

a dukedom. It wai close <m £ ^ ^ ^hich included a valuation 

1901-2 being estimated at ^ 900 » ’ .^rnnanies He had increased ms 

at cost of lus shareholdings in i arranged handsome annuities 

mother’s allowance to for his aunt. Sarah MiUcr. To liis 

for his sisters, with one oi ^ 50 ° j 

261 



NORTIlCUrFE 


Wife he was aboundiiigly generous: ‘he ^avc me everylhiiig\ He was also 
giving annuities to members of his wife s family. 

Beyond those family benefactions, he was supplying the needs and 
assunng die future of a number of people who had no direct claim on him; 
for example, more tlian one indigent njonber of his father’s generation at 
the bar and of the Sylvan Debating Club. He continued to pay his father's 
old friend, Frederick Wood. /)300 a year and made an allowance to his 
daughter, Eleanor Wood, who wrote: i our generosity is overwhelming.’ 
He was paying the school fees for several of his friends' children at Eton 
and elsewhere. He was helping Henry Klein, the Holbom music pub- 
lisher, who liad encouraged his earliest aspirations and whose fortunes 
were in dcciinc. Loans to him of more than /s.ooo eventually became a 
gift. When Klein died, his widow rcccivco^^^aoo a year from Alfred 
Harmsworth for the rest of her life. Grant Richards, the book publisher, 
was lent j[^2,soo ‘as a personal favour’, none of it repaid. Old Mrs Jealous 
of Hampstead was helped, on one occasion witli £,SOO. A Thanct barber’s 
assistant, Frederick William Smith, who attended Alfred at Elmwood, was 
lent ^800 to start liis own business m Harbour Street, Ramsgate. The 
money was paid back and the barber was always held in esteem by his 
benefactor. He advanced large sums from his personal accounts to enable 
members of his scafTs to buy shares in his companies and to others to 
ouaLfy for their directorships. He seldom filled to show sympathy with 
those beset by private money problems. One of them svas Edgar Wallace, 
risen from Ludgatc Circus newsboy to war correspondent who had 
’scooped’ the Boer War peace tenm for the Daily Afail. ‘He saved me 
from ruin', and the bank guarantee for /i.ooo which had ensured that 
result had finally to be cleared by Alfred Harmsworth liimsclf. Other 
writing men of tlic time had cause for gratitude: Henley, William Lc 
Queux tlie serial writer, Laird Closve* the naval historian. Pollen, some- 
time acting editor of the Daily Afat/, Edwin Pugh, remembrancer of 
London life, Harold Bcgbie, were among them. Lord Mountmorres’s 
place as a suppbeant had been taken by another joumahstic peer. Lord 
Rosslyn, who had started Scottish Life with Harmsworth help and had no 
success with it. Max Pemberton, Dargavillc Carr, Gilbert Burgess, Ncvill 
Jackson, Reginald Nicholson, John Baxter Boyle, BecUcs Wilhon, Alfred 
E. T. Watson, editor of The BaJmhaon Library, Claude Johnson, did not 
ask in vain. He had provided Steevens’s widow svith an annuity of fsoo 
a year. At Henley’s death he undertook to pay his widow’s rent at Park 
Micisions, BitCerscs, and continued to do so foe nineteen years after. 'For 
all you have done,' she wrote in 19*6, ‘the deepest gratitude of my heart 
for ever.' He saved careers, reputations, homes. A mortgage foreclosure 
on Broome Park, Kent, later the home of Lord Kitchener, is believed to 
have been averted by his timdy aid. A distracted Thaner postmaster, in 
262 



DAWN OF A NrW ACF 

debt to a moneylender, was rescued from his plight. J. W. Robertson 
Scott, founder of The CcnntrvmM, looking far back to the days when he 
first kiicsv Alfred Harmssvortli, ssTorc; 'All the time, there is remembrance 
of his kindness’, and the full talc of it will never be told. 

It was not the facile kindness of a man with money to spare. Often it 
expressed a warmth of consideration that is the essence of generosity. 
Wives of harassed editorial men would receive hampen from Harrods or 
Fortnum A; Mason, aldiough they had never met 'the Chief whose com- 
pliments were inscribed on the accompanying card. Baskets of fruit and 
flowers svould arrive ac hospitals and nursing homes for invalids who had 
no reason to suppose that he kncwoftlieir illnesses. The peace and com- 
forts of Elmssmod were made as freely available to those who could not 
afford a holiday as to the directorial class of guest. 

The ‘princely beggar’ of the London Hospital, the Hon, Sydney 
Holland, later Ixird l^uts/bfd, often turned to him for help in promoting 
his meritorious if sometimes too pushful fund-raising enterprises. But 
Alfred Harmsworth prefened to spread his donations to cliaricy in smaller 
amounts over a avidc range of insrituriom: the Newsvendors* Trovidenl 
Fund, the Baptist Children’s Fund, the Actors’ Orphanage, the Soldiers & 
Sailors Association, the Royal Earlswood Institution for Mental Defectives, 
the Gardeners' Orphan Fund, tlie National Cound! for Combating 
Vcncral Disease, the South Western Orphanage, the Netvspaper Press 
Fund, St. John's Hospial for Diseases of the Skin, Little Sisters of the Poor, 
the Royal Literary Fund, the Sandwichmoi’s Christmas Dinner Fund, the 
Royal General Theatrical Fund, the Artists' Benevolent Fund, are picked 
out at random from die record of his donations for 1902-3. Always at the 
top of the list, from the days of his Answers success, were the Salvation 
Army and the Soaety foe the Protection of Women Ac Cliildrcn. He sub- 
scribed to both for most of his life. 

He showed no pride in his wealth. For him, it was one of the conveniences. 
Acquiring money in great amounts, he was often witliout any in his 
pocket. Borrowed halt-crowns appeared on the debit side of his chauf- 
feurs' accounts. If he was not utterly incapable of ostentation, it was never 
shown in money terms. Apart from the honesty of his pleasure in being 
able to help others (and there was no doubting it), his personal attitude to 
money can be stated simply. He (iked having it in plenty because it enabled 
him to buy the best: the best suits and shirts, the best motor-cats, the best 
cigars, and, above all, the best medical advice. Presumably, it tvas with the 
same indulgent satisfaction that, in 1900, he had subscribed ;(^5.ooo as a 
third-share of the capital on which The Comioi'sseiir, the sumptuous 
monthly magazmc for collectors of the best in art and antique furniture, 
Was founded. He put money into less glamorous enterprises: for example, 
£soo in George R. Sims’s much-advertiscd hair restorer called ‘Tatcho’ (in 
263 



NORTHCUFfE 


which Cecil and Leicester invested ^Ci.ooo each), and an unrecorded sum 
mto the ‘Normyl’ cure for inebriacy. 

Rudyard Kiplmg to Alfred Hannsworth: 


The Elms, 

Rottingdean, Sussex, 
ijth December, 1899 

Private 

Dear Mr Harmsworth, — . . . Now I want money. It’s the old, old talc. 
Eminently respectable female servant seduced by eminently respectableTommy. 
Tommy ordered to S. Africa. Kid to be bom in a few months. Virtuous femde 
employer proposes calmly to turn her out into die street but (thank God!) 
has a fleeting notion that perhaps I might help etc she sacks her. There are some 
few calls on my purse just now. Please send what you can and I’ll account. I’d 
like ^20 for sudden calls. 

Ever yours sincerely, 

RUDYARD KIPLING. 


Cecil, Leicester and Hildebrand had been Liberal candidates for Parliament 
in the autumn of 1900. Cedi was defeated at Droitwich by 368 votes. 
Leicester had been returned for Caithness in a four-cornered contest by 
28 votes. At Gravesend, Hildebrand had been beaten by his Conservative 
opponent, Gilbert Parker, a novelist, by 738 votes: '1 knew he would get a 
licking’, Alfred wrote in the diary. Ldeester had lately bought a paper of 
his own. Golf, paying C®cil and Hildebrand had established 

a magazine property, the Nm Liberal Rei»i'eH', which chiefly demon- 
strated, not journalistic or business flair, but esteem for Joseph Chamber- 
lain and political independence within the inner Harmsworth circle. ’Tliose 
diversionary enterprises did not mean discord, although feelings between 
Alfred and Hildebrand had hardened since Alfred had discovered that 
brother’s addiction to playing billiards in Fleet Street saloons during office 
hours. A member of uie Daily Mail staff was dismissed for keeping him 
company. Both Leicester and Hildebrand had sold some of their family 
shareholdings to Alfred, and Leicester, it seemed, had already decided on a 
change of direction in his career. Meanwhile, Alfred had commissioned 
Edwin Ward, of the Savage Club, to paint a portrait of each of his 
brothers. 

There was a Golden Daily Mail to mark the last day of the century, 
which the cartoonist, Max Beerbohm, depiaed as a leather-clad, heavily 
goggled entity, rusliing with headlong speed into the future. A leading 

264 



DAWN OF A NEW ACB 


article, vvhjdi flouted the standing order for brevity by filling nearly a col- 
umn and a half, sounded a recessional note. ‘Wc are entering stormy seas 
and the time may be near when we shall have to fight in very truth for our 
life. Athens fell, who was the dvilizet of the world, because her parties 
quarrelled among themselves and because she faded to realize the all- 
importance of armed strength. But if wc arc true to ourselves’, etc. In 
Westminster Abbey, Canon Gore, later Bishop of Oxford, leaned over the 
pulpit and flung his words down the aisles. ‘The spread of education has 
given a vast impulse to journalism and popular literature, and has pro- 
duced an enormous number of persons wishing to be clerks, but it is 
doubtful whether these things are promoting character.’ In St. Paul’s, 
Canon Mason, of Canterbury, reviewed foe advances of science and in- 
vention in relation to the moral progress of mankind. Outside the cathe- 
dral, a vast crowd was assembling. The Daily Mail recorded the scene: 

The hand of the clock has reached the quarter, and is pressing on impercep- 
tibly to midnight, the hour that marks the doom of the nineteenth age of the 
Chnstian era. The crowd has grown strangely quiet. The triangular space that 
separates the minute-hand from the hour of twelve diminishes slowly. The 
angle becomes acute, the hand steals on, is Wended wish its fellow. The nine- 
teenth century is gasping out Its breath— -Boom! 

The first stroke of mianighe crashes through the frosty air, and is hailed by an 
ann]hilan.ig roar of jubilation. The succeeding strokes are almost imheard; 
they are al) but lost and drowned in the tumult of cheering. Hurrah) The 
twentieth century has dawned. 


In New York, The World reported that the new century was hailed in 
City Hall Square and Lower Broadway by a crowd of 100,000 cheering 
people. The New Year’s Day issue of that papex bore across the top of its 
tront page a ‘banner’ with the strange device of a message in reproduced 
handwriting: I ask America far an impartial verdict on this 20th century Neiw- 
paper . — Alped Harmstvarlh. The paper was diangcd in size and appearance. 
Tlierc were readers who thought they had been hoaxed. 

Alfred Harmsworth had arrived in New York the previous day. With 
him were his wife and ‘Reggie’ Nicholson, who was acting as Alfred’s 
secretary. Alfred had written to Ids mother during the voyage: 

s,M.s. ‘teutonic’ 

Datlmg Mother, — We had it tough from Liverpool to Queensrown . . . and 
1 have been anxious about the dear wife, but her wonderful pluck and the 
digitalis have kept her going, though she looks pinched and ill. 

26S 



NORTIiCUnX 


1 am all Init bored lo death, lued of reading, of rollitip. of wonderhie how 
far c lu\ c gone and when w e ihall arrive, and, oh, w rcgrctftil that we did not 
go to delightful Cannn. Never again do we venture on t!»c wild AtLintic at 
Cliriitnus tune. Your hlicj of the valley bloom ttill and I iluU walk aihorc at 
New York wcaruig jotne. Ikmd greermp for the day have p«wte from oaf 
hcatu to you acroij the jca. 

Wife ia)t you did not understand that you were to keep ^iOQ at a present. I 
thought you did, dear. 

ALniED. 


Leaving the ship, he had been landed a incsuec from the owner of 
The U'er)J, Joseph Pulitzer, the most powaful of the New York news- 
paper propneton. It invited him to take diarge of The ll'orU for one day, 
remodelling it in the light of hti idcat of newspaper development in the 
nventicdi century. Pulitzer promtsed *«o intcifcrcncc*. lie would give 
Harniswofth complete cdiiorul powers. Pulitzer had read an article which 
Alfred had written for 77ir Nonit AtnetUan Rti-icxf, forecasting ‘the simul- 
taneous newspaper*, an carili-girdling production which was to be backed 
by an organization of Standard Oil vastness. To some readers >i nuy lave 
sounded like an echo of the Napoleonic world throne dream translated 
into the nctvspapcr realm, 

Alfred accepted the inviution, wliich was also a cliallcngc. That night 
the front of The ll’crtJ building dazzled the CTOwds with a pjTOtechnical 
display of coloured electric lights, uluting the New Year. As a com- 
pliinoit to die visiting editor, Pulitzer ordacd his staff to work in evening 
dress. One man, Pomeroy Burton, die nevM editor, refused, considering it 
‘an affectation*. 1 lis terse independence didnoi escape Alfred Harmsworth*s 
notice. Neither did his q^uick thinking when mcclianical adjustments were 
urgently called for by Alfred's change in the size of the paper. 

All through the houn of going to press that night, tfic Harmsworth 
watchword ivas: 'Keep it down, gciidemcn!' He moved conscand)' 
through the newsroom repeating liii injunction to be brief: ‘No story of 
more than tsvo hundred and fifty wordsl* He was imposing ‘tabloid* 
journalism on a public which had rqected it some years before, when 
Mimscy, another of the New York newspaper owmen, had tried it in lus 
Daily Continent. Much of the comment on Alfred Harmsworth's version 
of The World was tliat the tea! novelty was in his term, ‘tabloid*, which 
was chimetl to be the copyright of a British firm of manufacturing 
chemists. Later, they issued svamuiM against infringement. Tlic Harms- 
wordi edition of The World was for some time One of tlie permanent 
exhibits at the New York Public Library. 

The fPorW for January I, ISKJI, made Alfred a transcontinental celebrity 
266 




Tht WerU. New York, Jamuty I, 1901 


for nearly rwenry-four hours. The 

mcnse. There seems to luve been n . . thereby justifying what 

advertising to news. A printing trade journal wt . 


advertising to news. .. 

Hs tremendous energy S'rffcse were tevolu- 

catried out his suggesmns to the “• jj seconds. At inid- 

tionary in character The k^ Harmswotth in drinking a toast . 

night editors and reporters jou 

champagne to the dawn of anew tury. 


Cliaiupiglic IV/ ve.v — 

His thoughts “ay '“’f ^'t^’oeiFy Afe'ii^trfS riSeir gL« 
five yean before, when he an ^7 ^ jacketed in bold type wth 

to the future of that newspper. N Joseph Pulitzer, James 

SFtrilttrptSrs wji- 

StgyoTh^:"/*" 


267 



NORTiicurre 


wrote Juban Ralph, the Americin \var corrcspotidcnt, ‘Harmsworth 
stands out, easy, wcU<ontrollttl and polished in manner, the jnost pre- 
possessing and picturesque figure in journalism on either side of the 
Atlantic’. William Randolph Hcarst wrote editorially in his newspapers: 
‘Woidd you like to look at Mr Harmsworlht Imagine a face that presents 
a mixture of Napoleon, Edison and the left-hand dicrub leaning over the 
frame of Raphael’s "Sistinc Madoima*’/ Hcarst went on to tell his readers: 
‘He is trying to buy the London Times. He wants to own “a great paper, 
the greatest paper”. Therefore he knows that he o\vn$ no such paper now. 
May he get The Times', and when he gets it, may he show us the real 
Harmsworth editing a real newspaper’, a jibe not so much at the visitor 
as at Pulitzer. In New York, Allred made no secret of his desire to own 
The Times. Catching the local atmosphere, he seems to have bragged 
about it; for instance, to the publicist Nathan Straus, who svas more 
passionately interested in his propaganda for pasteurized milk for babies. 

The IVorlJ, on that first twentieth-century morning, was sold out by 
nine o'clock. Extra editions, totalling 100,000 copies, were called for- 
Later in the day, copies were sclluig at a premium. It was a subject of 
considerable criticism and the balance of professional opinion went against 
it. Seen in relation to the imminent half-tone block revolution in the 
newspapers, its temporary editor’s drastic attitude to illustration was like 
an aberration of judgment, perhaps because he was a conspicuous victim 
of the crude line d^a^ving then prevalent m American journalism. To 
millions of readers he was made to look hke one of the patent medicine 
addicts whose testimony to tonics, ointments and piUs filled the advertising 
columns. Comment %vas sometimes amusingly personal, as for example: 
‘He knows more about journalism than he docs about hair-dressing.’ 'The 
MImeapoUs Times suggested that the lumc of Harmsworth might be 
better remembered for its association svith a class of periodicals that had 
killed ‘soi^d literature for the young’. Hie tribute was a balm for the 
irritation which he felt on reading in an Atlanta newspaper that he was 
American-bom and had gone to London in his youth to rejuvenate the 
British press. But it may not have excused the reference to him in the 
Minneapolis Tribune as ‘Al’ Harmsworth. The broad general verdict on his 
IVoiU venture appeared to be that, after all, he was not the Christopher 
Columbus of nvencicth-ccntury journalism. 

Alfred Harmsworth to Gerudinc Mary Harmsworth: 

HoEiwi , 

New York. 

January 12, 1901 

My darling Mother, — We have had a most extraordinary visit here. People 
say that no young man's coming has ever stirred up the United States so much 
268 



DAWN OF A NEW AGE 


before. The articles and picture that have appeared about the name of Harms- 
worth number many thousands. But I shall be glad to escape from the turmoil. 

It might please you to know that distinguished people from all parts of the 
United States have come here to meet me. I am to have a private audience with 
the President and have been treated, generally, in a way that quite amazed me. 
Wliat is mote satisfactory is that I tl^ik it vm be profitable to the business. 

Nearly aU. the articles which are appearing about me are invented and they, 
nearly all, make me praise the paper in 'ndiich they appear. They all invariably 
state that the editoroftheZ^w/y Afot/teceivcsasalaryof ^i5,oooayearand are 
particularly anxious to inform their readers that I was bom in Ireland, in order 
to please the Irish here. 

This is the most progresuve and growing of countries. The wealth and 
energy appal one. 

Should any articles about us appear in any English papers, reprinted from 
here, don’t believe one word. All are inventea. 

Your devoted adoring, 

HRST BORN. 

‘Mark Twain in great form,’ he wrote in the diary. Also; ‘Went to see 
Edison. Spent the day with him.’ There is no mention of meeting the 
President, But the crux of the ‘turmoil’, undoubtedly, was the splendid 
Whitney ball at 871 Fifth Avenue, where the Harmsworths were an- 
nounced with the Vanderbilts, the Asiors, the Jays, the Harrimans and 
the Reids, ‘the finest private social function ever held in New York’, The 
World told its readers. Molly Harmswonh, who had triumphantly defied 
the indifFcrenc talents of the nesvspapet artists, was at her best, evoking 
a frankness of admiration that was less rare in New York than in London. 
On the day of his arrival, the hotel reception clerk had said, glancing up as 
Alfred gave his name: ‘When is your father checking hit’ The Harms- 
worths’ good fortune was not in wealth alone. 

Dunng that first week of 1901, an influenza wave struck New York- 
Alfred was turned in the newspaper lists of ‘distinguished victims’. The 
attack was sharp and he left for Hotida with its fever stii! upon him. A 
gossip writer hoped that he would have better luck than to catch 'a tabloid 
tarpon. In fact, the sport yielded a brave array of fish but none of the 
big game vanety tlut he was after. He noted in the diary that the singing 
of the mocking-bird reminded him of Elmwood. Within a few days 
virulent malaria was superimposed on the influenza. 

His diary tells of ‘very bad pain’, of his wife’s alarm at his state and of 
her ‘splendid nuning', of his ‘enjo^g a course of Hardy’s novels while 
still fcclmg very ill’, and of lus bdng peremptorily ordered back to New 
York. Tlicre was one bad day when he feared the worst, that he might not 
sec England again. During the voyage home in the Oceanic, he endured 
the classic seqtielae of nulana) detn-ession. ‘Cannot bear to be alone. Can- 
269 



NORTHCUFFE 


! or keep my attennon on anything.' The tale of woe recurs in the 
, from January to May, with its grimmer visitations tmdctlincd: 

^'remely depressed’, and 'Very depressed indeed’. Five exclamation marks 
arc set against the entry for April i6: ‘Lunched Automobile Club and to 
office.’ The next day he was at work again but ‘left tired and in pain . 
Thanet irresistibly called lum. ‘i8fh ^pri 7 , Tlttirsday. — Went to Elmwood, 
to which I have been looking forward so much for weeks. Found it looking 
lovely, the daffodils more numerous than ever. Good deal of pain.' The 
next day; ‘Felt better.’ Doctors came down from London, one ordering 
complete rest, another a holiday in Paris. Ten days later he was forced 
to admit: 'Very depressed again today. Prostate pain', and the theme of 
depression, sometimes acute, runs tlirough the chary of the weeks which 
saw spring pass into summer. The Paris prescription worked its miracle. 
‘20th May, Monday. — A lovely day and felt so well. Drove in Bois. Life 
worth living. Sent ^10,000 to London Hospital on my recovery.’ It 
provided modem equipment for the hospital. His later medical history 
suggested that the malarial illness had produced side effects which 
reverberated in his constitution through tlie rest ofhis hfe. 

A casual diary note for June 19 illustrates the changing personal for- 
tunes to which he was always nervously susceptible. 'Went to see Mother 
and Dot off to Switzerland. Office all day. Sir George Newnes to see me 
in the evening about the sale of his business.’ Newnes’s position was 
deteriorating. He was a diabetic and the progressive course ofhis illness 
endangered ms judgment. He invested too heavily in early colour printing 
processes. He gave disastrously excessive print orders. Surrendering to the 
drink habit, he went Into hi^g for long periods, leaving his associates 
without power to act. The effect on the highly esteemed firm of George 
Newnes Ltd. was chaotic. In 1901, he suited a new illustrated paper 
called The King, presumably hoping to supersede The Queen. The venture 
lost money from the beginning. Meeting a tea broket friend named Wade 
in Regent Street at that time, Newnes sounded him about a personal loan 
of £200. Of the tone of the discttsslons ivith the Hatmsworths there is no 
record. On June 29 Alfred noted: ‘To die Savoy to meet Sir George 
Newnes in regard to the purchase ofhis business. He would not accept 
our terms.’ 



DAWN OF A NEW AGE 


Alfred Harmswordi to his mother; 

Sutton Place 
by Guildford 
Surrey. 

Sunday, 29th August, 1901. 

My darling Mother, — ^The first letter 1 write in our new home is to the dear 
one I love so much. 

ALFRED 

What he had noted in his diary as the ‘sad netvs of Cecil Rhodes’s 
death’, in March 1902, did not afi^ him so deeply as did the death of his 
friend Robert Dolling, the Anglican clergyman, in May, at the age of 
fifty-one. ‘Whitsuntide party at Sutton Place, but we are gloomy by 
reason of Father DoUing's death.' Alfred had been called to the bedside in 
DoUing's last hours, ‘to say goodbye’. He was a central figure in the 
mourning throng that had overflowed St. Saviour’s Church, Poplar, for 
the funeral service. He was active in ensuring that a worthy successor was 
found to carry on DoUing’s labours in London’s Past End. The Bishop of 
Stepney wrote to say that his svishes would be respected. ‘1 am doing all 
1 can ... to get the right sort of man for St Saviour’s ... a man of whom 
you would approve. Ic would be an enormous lift to him if he felt that 
some, at least, of the generous support which you gave to DoUing might 
be renewed to him.’ 

May.-— Busy about negotiations re The Times.’ The hint of higher- 
altitude activity is not followed up; there is no further reference to it in 
the diary of the period. R. D. Blumenfdd said that early in October 1900 
Hatmsworth had empowered him to go to the Walters with an offer for 
The Times, remarking; ‘I do not think they ate getting on too well over 
there. If I went to them, they would at once refuse me. I’ve got a million 
pounds in Consols and I authorize you to pay up to that sum.’ According 
to his accountants’ statement for the year, his capital worth was ^886,000. 
In the months that followed, his name was more than once linked with 
rumours of change at Printing House Square. When they appeared in 
print in America, Arthur Walter, head of the owning family, issued a 
strong and final denial. 

To the Edwardian courtier. Lord Esher, who lunched with him on 
October 29, 1901, Alfred was the young arriviste — ‘clever, vain, not very 
intelligent about anything except organization and money-making, but 
full of aspirations for power. The man interests me, as ail self-made men 
do.' 


For Alfred, 1902 was mainly a holiday year. In February he left for 
271 



NORTHCUFFE 


not read or keep my attention on anything.’ The tale of woe recurs in the 
diary, from January to May, with its grimmer visitations underlined: 
‘Extremely depressed’, and ' Very depressed indeed'. Five exclamation marks 
are set against the entry for Apnl i6; ‘Lunched Automobile Club and to 
office.’ The next day he was at work again but ‘left tired and in pain’. 
Thanet irresistibly called him. ‘jith April, Thursday . — Went to Elmwood, 
to which I have been looking forward so much for weeks. Found it looking 
lovely, the daffodik more mimerous than ever. Good deal of pain. The 
next day: ‘Felt better.’ Doctors came down from London, one ordering 
complete rest, another a holiday in Paris. Ten days later he was forced 
to admit; 'Very depressed c^nin today. Prostate pain’, and the theme of 
depression, sometimes acute, runs through the diary of the weeks which 
saw spring pass into summer. The Paris prescription worked its miracle. 
‘20th May, Monday. — h lovely day and felt so well. Drove in Bois, life 
worth living. Sent ^iq,qoo to I^ndon Hospital on my recovery.’ It 
provided modem equipment for the hospital. His later medical history 
suggested that the malanal illness had produced side effects which 
reverberated in his constitution through the rest of his life. 

A casual diary note for June 19 illustrates the changing personal for- 
tunes to which he was always nervously susceptible. ‘Went to see Mother 
and Dot off to Switzerland. Office all day. Sit George Newnes to sec me 
in the evening about the sale of his business.’ Newnes’s position was 
deteriorating. He was a diabetic and the progressive course of his illness 
endangcredhis judgment. He invested too heavily in early colour printing 
processes. He gave disastrously excessive print orders. Surrendering to the 
drink habit, he went into hitog for Jong periods, leaving his associates 
without power to act. The effect on the highly esteemed firm of George 
Newnes Ltd. was chaotic. In 15101, be starr^ a new illustrated paper 
called The presumably hoping to supersede The Queen. The venture 
lost money from the beginning. Meeting a tea broker friend named Wade 
in Regent Street at that time, Newnes sounded him about a personal loan 
of ;^20o. Of the tone of the discussions with the Harmswortns there is no 
record. On June 29 Alfred noted: ‘To the Savoy to meet Sic George 
Newnes in regard to the purdiase of his business. He would not accept 
our terms.’ 

Spent the day at Sutton Place,’ he wrote on July 23, ‘House nearly 
ready. Drove up to the Stracheys [St. Loe Strachey, editor of The Spectator, 
was then living at Newlands Comer] in the evening. Wife had three 
frintog fits.’ On July 30, he took Peanon, the publisher, ‘for a midnight 
ride , and another of his passengers was Lord Rosebery, who hoped that 
it might cure his insomnia. The Harmsworths went into residence at 
Sutton Place on August 24, ‘Thoroughly enjoyed my new home,’ Alfred 
wrote. ‘Slept fairly well.’ 

270 



DAWK OF A NEW AGE 


Alfred Harmsworth to his mother: 


Sutton Place 
by Guildford 
Surrey. 

Sunday, apth August, 1901. 

My darling Mother, — The first letter I write in our new home is to the dear 
one I love so much. 

ALFR£D 

What he had noted in his diary as the ‘sad news of Cecil Rhodes’s 
death’, in March 1902, did not aflecl him so deeply as did the death of his 
friend Robert Dolling, the Anglican clergyman, in May, at the age of 
fifty-one. ‘Whitsuntide party at Sutton Place, but we are gloomy by 
reason of Father DoUing's death.' Alfred had been called to the bedside in 
DoUing's last hours, ‘to say goodbye'. He was a central figure in the 
mourning throng that had overflowed St. Saviour’s Church, Poplar, for 
the funeral service. He was active in ctuuting that a worthy successor was 
found to carry on DoUing’s labours in London’s East End. The Bishop of 
Stepney wrote to say that his wishes would be respected. ‘I am doing all 
I can ... to get the right sort of man for St. Saviour’s ... a man of whom 
you would approve. It would be an enormous Uft to him if he felt that 
some, at least, of the generous support which you gave to Dolling might 
be renewed to him.’ 

‘2 jdj May.— Busy about negotiations tc 7 lic Times.' The hint of higher- 
altitude activity is not foUowcd up; there is no further reference to it in 
the iary of the period. R. D. Dlumcnfcld said that early in October 1900 
Harmsworth had empowered him to go to the Walters with an offer for 
T 7 »e Times, remarking: ‘I do not diink they are getting on too wcU over 
there. If I went to them, they would at once refuse me. I’ve got a million 
pounds in Consols and I authorize you to pay up to that sum.’ According 
to his accountants’ statement for the year, to capital worth was 86,000. 
In the months that foUowcd. his name was more than once linked with 
nimoun of change at Printing House Square. When they appeared in 
print in America, Arthur Walter, head of the owning family, issued a 
strong and final denial. 

To the Edwardian courtier. Lord Esher, who lunched with him on 
Oaober 29, 1901. Alfred svas die young arrii’isre — ^‘clever, vain, not very 
intelligent about anytlung except organization and money-making, but 
full of aspirations fbr power. The man interests me, as all self-made men 
do.’ 

* * * 

For Alfred. 1902 was mainly a hoCday year. In Febnury he left 
27t 



KORTIICUnX 

France, driving dowir to Monte Carlo in 'my steam travelling carriage', 
a term wliich docs not seem to have belonged to its early twentieth- 
century context. But his ScrpoUct steam car was one of the wonders of the 
world to many people in the parts of France through which he drove it 
that year. During a mechanical crisis on the road at Ancy-lc-France, a 
cloua of steam and flame went up from the engine. A passing peasant 
woman fell to her knees, in terror of the devil’s work. Reaching Monte 
Carlo, he noted: ‘Saw Santos Dumont fly over the sea.’ Tliat early 
adventure in a dirigible balloon by tlic young Brazilian inventor might 
have been thought to merit a less prosaic comment but Alfred Harms- 
worth’s epoch-making response to the challenge of aviation was not yet 
kindled. He had been content, thus far. to publish an occasional article in 
Answers about men’s dreams of aerial navigation and to report the early 
experiments in his newspapen. ‘Went about a good deal with Santos 
Dumont’, he sviotc. Tlicir talk was chiefly of airships. 

There was a cat excursion to Strasbourg, extended Iw train to Stutt- 
gart. ‘It was my first sight of Germany’, and the effect ofit seems to have 
stirred a deeper level of feeling than that of romantic sentiment. A 
dxmonic force was rising in Europe. He gazed long and earnestly east- 
ward from the Vosges, and was impelled ro svrire again in his diary; ‘I shall 
never forget my first sight of Germany.' 

As one of the first owner-driven, his motoring that year confirmed liis 
view that the new development in transport wotdd quickly expand 
beyond the pleasures of the few. In the Daily Mail he had a powerful 
accelerator of public sentiment but, being a journalist ratlier than a pro- 
pagandise, he allowed public sendment to be fairly reflected in that news- 
paper; and public sentiment svas hostile to the coming of the motor-car. 
He published letters from those who detested the internal combustion 
engine as well as from those who saw in it an instrument of diat progress 
wWch, through science, vns to set men &ee and therefore make them 
happy. His impartiality worried Some of the pioneers. One of them, 
the Hon. C. S. RoUs, begged Claude Johnson, secretary of the Automobile 
Club, to intervene. Johnson’s subsequent letter to Hannsworth, dated 
September l j, 1902, is a social document. 

1 enclose a letter from Charlie Rolls, The points seem to me to be as follows: 
(i). Cars have come to stay. (2). TTiey will very shortly to a very large extent 
replace the horse. (3). Road navel muse be considerably accelerated and can be 
accelerated without danger. Loss of time on the toad means loss of money, just 
as much as loss of time elsewhere. (4). Ouc hereditary instincts are shocked on 
seeing anything on the road fastet than the horse, but as ouc senses become 
educated we shall recognise thcfacttiiat speed of itself is not dangerous but the 
inability to stop is dangerous. (5). It is therefore no good for people to get 
hysterical because motor cats are driven &st, as it is certain that they svill be 


272 







NORTHCUFFE 


France, driving down to Monte Cado in ‘my steam travelling carriage’, 
a term which does not seem to have belonged to its early twentieth- 
century context. But his SerpoUct steam car was one of the wonden of the 
world to many people in the parts of France through which he drove it 
that year. During a mechamc^ criris on the road at Ancy-le-France, a 
cloud of steam and flame went up from the engine. A passing peasant 
woman fell to her knees, in terror of the devil’s work. Reaching Monte 
Carlo, he noted; ‘Saw Santos Dumont fly over the sea.’ That early 
adventure in a dirigible balloon by the young Brazilian inventor might 
have been thought to merit a less prosaic comment but Alfred Harms- 
worth’s epoch-making response to the challenge of aviation was not yet 
kindled. He had been content, dim far, to pubfish an occasional article in 
Answers about men’s dreams of aerial navigation and to report the early 
experiments in Hs newspapers. ‘Went about a good deal with Santos 
Dumont’, he wrote. Their talk was chiefly of airships. 

There was a car excursion to Strasbourg, extended by train to Stutt- 
gart. ‘It was my first sight of Germany’, and the effect of it seems to luve 
stirred a deeper level of feeling than that of romantic sentiment. A 
dsemonic force was rising in Europe. He gazed long and earnestly east- 
ward from the Vosges, and was impelled to write again in his diary: ‘I shall 
never forget my first sight of Germany.’ 

As one of the firsc owner-drivers, hrs mooring that year confirmed his 
view that the new development in transport would quickly expand 
beyond the pleasures of the few. In the Daily Mail he had a powerful 
accelerator of pubhe sentiment but, being a journalist rather than a pro- 
pagandist, he rilowed public sentiment to be fairly reflected in that news- 
paper; and public sentiment was hostile to the coming of the motor-car. 
He published letters from those who detested the internal combustion 
engine as well as from those who saw in it an instrument of that progress 
wmch, through science, was to set men free and therefore make them 
happy. His impartiality worried some of tiie pioneers. One of them, 
the Hon. C. S. Rolls, begged Claude Johnson, secretary of tlic Automobile 
club, to intervene. Johnson’s subsequent letter to Harmsworth, dated 
September 15, 1902, is a social document. 

I enclose a letter &om Charlie Rolls. Tlic points seem to me to be as follows: 
(i). Cars have come to stay. {2). They will very shortly to a very large extent 
replace the horse. (3). Road ttavd most be considerably accelerated and can be 
aiccditt'ittdwuk'efti'vdasiger.l.osscftiineontheroad means loss of money, 
as much as loss of time elsewhere. (4). Our hereditary instincts are shocked on 
seeing anything on the road faster man the horse, but as our senses become 
educated we shall recognise the fact dut speed of itself is not dangerous but the 
inabilicy to stop is dangerous. (5). It is therefore no good for people to get 
hysterical because motor cars are driven fist, as it is certain that they will be 


272 



’CU.Jj-' Hot" 






IJcbnnJ H-umsworlh (fr/l) Jnd St John Harnnwottll (riilil). in thtir twenties 



Sutton Place, Guildford 



DAWN OF A NEW AGE 


driven fast. (6), We want to encourage tJie legitimate use of automobiles and to 
discourage (and, if practicable, imd^ impossible) the illegitimate use of auto- 
mobiles. (7). Cats must be numbered. 


‘I don’t bow to the belief that time is money’, Alfred wrote, testifying 
that, on the contrary, he ^vas in searph of the rest and recuperation which 
the motor-car enabled him to find in places hitherto inaccessible to 
mechanical transport. Jolinson’s letter svas none the less important as a 
directive. It gave point and force to what had largely been an opportunist 
attitude to the new era on the roads. It encouraged the proprietor of the 
Daily Mail to adopt a more coherent and constructive policy, with in- 
calculable effects on society. 

In the summer he had been with his mother on a pilgrimage to Truro 
to see the old grammar school where his father was once a junior master. 
Together, they spent ‘a very delightful week, which we both enjoyed very 
much’. In the early autumn there came ‘a most enjoyable trip, full of 
variety’, to Scotland. It was followed in November by a visit to Dalmeny, 
where Lord Rosebery was entertaining the German emperor. Tire diary 
has nothing to say of Harmsworth’s encounter with a monarch whose 
power he would help to bring to dust. Through that year, Ws offices, 
staffs, periodicals, newspapers and professional responsibilities generally, 
were hardly mentioned in the diary. For him, 1902 seems to have been 
annus tnirabilis, in which he was mote free of care than he ever would be 
again. ‘Diary not kept,’ he wrote in France for the week of February 13 
to 20, ‘but out daily life consists of motoring, lunching, walking, dining, 
plenty of sleep, sun and fresh air, a good time altogether.’ His playgoing 
in London was given more emphasis than his work, though his taste for 
such pieces as The French Milliner, Three Utile Maids and Frocks and Frills 
was at odds with Arnold Bennett’s impression of him at a Haymarket 
Theatre first night as having ‘the head of a poet, a thmker’. 

More than usually congenial, too. ^vas the social activity in which he 
was involved. There was ‘a day with Rudyard Kipling’. At Mentmore, 
Lord Rosebery’s place in Hertfordshire, he had ‘a long talk with Winston 
Churchill’. That thrustful young poliddan had for some time been in the 
habit of wnting to him in advance of his public appearances in the hope 
that the Daily Mail would ^vc heed to them. Nine years younger than 
Harmsworth. Churchill svas admiringly aware of his influence and 
attracted to Ws personality. They were to get to know each other well 
through the next quarter of a century, their friendship intermittently 
slackening and tightening in response to the play of events and recalled 
in the warmest terms by the Sir Wnston Churchill of a later time. 
Another of Alfred’s ripening sodal relationships svas v/itli John Scott- 
Montagu, of Beaulieu, a man of much private and public virtue. Monugu 


373 



NORTHCUFra 


had been with him on the French holiday catEcr in the year. Not a club- 
man by nature, Alfred was going &irly often to The Beefsteak Club to 
which he had been elected two years before. There, Bohemianism svas 
sanctified by Debrett. 

At Sutton Place, the pages of the vellum-bound visitors’ book were 
rapidly being filled with distinguished signatures, representing literature 
and journalism, politics, the stage and ftshionablcsociety. Many Americans 
went there, receiving a welcome which was stirred to vivid recollection 
and important consequences in the years to come. Not that old friends 
were forgotten. Fred Wood and Max Pemberton svere often summoned 
to be of the company. Wood had dress scruples. For one of the Sutton 
Place garden parties he arrived in an ancient umform, with gold lace and 
cutlass, which had formerly graced his post in the Mercantile Marine 
Department of the Board of Trade. Pemberton treasured his memories of 
‘summer afternoons in the gracious old-wotid garden’, and he wrote of 
‘the Cliief standing in the doorway, beaming like a schoolboy . Yet 
Alfred was not completely happy at Sutton Place and there may have 
been more than physical signihance in his inability to sleep there. His 
pride in the beautiful old house was largely a reflection of his admiration 
for his wife’s social graces, for wluch it was the perfect setting. 

Lord Curzon of Kedleston to Alfred Hatmsworlh: 

Viceroy’s Camp. 

India. 

October 30. 

Dear Harmsworth, — . . . You would have laughed had you seen me two days 
ago, in a State carriage and 4, making a triumphal entry into a native city. It 
ran away with me in the mab street, turned clean over, and I landed heavily on 
the head of the Maharajah in a ditch. Arc tours worth the makings Who can 
doubt it after such an expericncet 

Yours sincerely, 

CURZON 

Again there had been warnings from the doctors: ‘Go slow.’ As before, 
he went to Paris for rest and remedy, taking as his guests Max Pemberton, 
Claude Johnson, Lord Rosslyn and a youi^ Scotsman, Campbell Muir, 
whose name recurs in the mary for a year or two but who remains a 
shadowy figure in the ettlourage. Within a week, Alfred was writing: ‘I do 
not ever remember picking up strength quicker’, indicating a recuperative 
facili^ that may have been medically su^ect- Crn-ssing to Borland a few 
days later to be with his mother for Christmas, his malaise returned. For 
him it was Christmas Day in bed. A more thorough change of scene was 
recommended. He decided to go to Sc Petersburg. 

The visit was recorded in his customary staccato way, e.g. ‘Went to 


274 



DAWN OF A NEW AGE 

the baUet. Czar was present but did a 7 fe new^oS 

say of an Austrian floor j ^alct through the next 

Lrs5;=sS=r^£r^‘v‘ 

being. That summer he wrote m the diary. j^jisted that they lake 

but he w. .0 live « 


holidays together mo« often We ^e ^ «Q the 

after travelfing wfh her to the Blacky r,«t^aw the licht. It was 
freehold of S^nyt»nk. ChapeUro 4 where h^ 

a link with her past, rather tlian ^ trouble which was 

In October 1903 he suflered a f««™//p 7 ,i^tchedly 
thought to be part of the malarial afterm . 'Having electricity, 

inasooddearofpain.-Thcrewaspro^^n^^^^^^ 

massage and mcdicmc. the result , Vernon Jones. ‘He ordered 

new medical name comes into die r«ord$. Dr vem j 

ledger; 'Vernon Jones, J^d become n business 

A young cts-Etomsn. Evelyn Wrendi 'sno ■ 
prodigy by exploinng the c,™ 'dcs^bing him as 'a man 

avordifor the firs, time in *' d“r-ent features and a 
obviously of Nordic stoch. with stcc V . ^d forehead’. As they walked 
Napoleonic loeh “f '’*^^^" 1 ° „y llorel testanrant, 'I noueed pplc 
to their able for lunch m tlic X , ..y struck by nis 


i, lafi* Alfred lud read that in the Frmch 
At some either point m his , continued publication. It was 

Res-olution only one Pam a paper mill. In March 1903 

Senna, fo.ecas. great industrial 



NORTHCUFFE 


developments in that territory and linked the name of Harmsworth with 
them. Concessions, it was stated, •were being sought from the Government 
of New Brunswick. Subject to water supply tests, the project would go 
forward. 

Last fall, Mr Harold Harimworth and one or two other Londoners visited 
New Brunswick and inspected several possible sites for pulp and paper making. 
The Grand Falls location in Gloucester county was among the number. If 
all is satisfactory, Messrs Harmsworth will, it is announced, launch some 
2,500,000 dollars in the enterprise and build at Grand Falls on the Nepisiquit 
River, 

The Boer War had given the Harmsworths their first experience of 
rising paper prices, from £11 iji. a ton in 1900 to dr, Sd. in 190L 
As consumers of huge quantities of paper, they were much concerned. 
There were grave risks in their dependence on the open market. Vast 
acreages of forest in Canada and Scandinavia were being heedlessly tom 
down to meet American demands. The New York World svas con- 
suming the timber of seven acres of forest every day. Already it was clear 
that those were not inexhaustible sources. A precarious situation might be 
made the more so by forest fires, not less devastating than the axe. Rushing 
torrents could sweep away a year’s cutting of logs overnight. In summer, 
there was the chance of a drought which could stop the water floiv, in- 
dispensable to pulp making. In winter, ice could jam the turbine wheels 
as well as interrupt navigation. All those were largely uninsurable hazards. 
Harold ws responsible for maintaining the enormous Harmsworth 
momentum. It was an increasingly worrying task. The prosperiry of their 
undertakings was at stake; no less. 

The splendours of Sutton Place had not dimmed Al&cd’s feeUngs fot 
Blmwood and may have heightened them. He continued to invite old 
friends and members of his various staffs to join him there for weekends 
and someumes longer periods. In the autumn of ipo2 he had spent a week 
there svith Harold, Sutton, Mayson Bceton, Max Pemberton, Fred Wood 
and an American-bom carculadon man named Dubbs, who had the un- 
usual first name of Marine, which not even his closest friends could be 
induced to use. Over dinner one evening, Al&ed said to Harold; ‘What 
would happen to our publications if svar broke out in Europe?’ Harold 
answered perfunctorily: ‘No doubt it would be very serious.’ Falling silent 
for a while, Alfi-ed then spoke his mind. *We must not continue this risk. 
Harold, you and Bceton must go to Newfoundland, get timber con- 
cessions and build milb.’ Recording die occasion in a letter to Frederick 
R. Poke, then proprietor oiEveryhodys Weekly, Dubbs wrote: ‘That is 
how it happened. 1 heard it. Harold and Bceton sailed that week.’ Beeton 
had already shosvn a firm grasp of economic geography inarticles svhich 

276 



DAWN OF A NEW ACE 

te had written for the Daily Mail after investigation of the West Indies 
sugar industt)’. Although the Hannsworths sverc getting a large part of 
their paper supplies from Scandinavia, Alfred in paroadar had no f^th 
in long-term investment in that region. He believed that Germany would 
seek to dominate Europe and its raw materials within the next decade. 
Their raw material, wood pulp, must be procurable within the British 
realm. It was vital to their future that they should have complete control 
of the source of supply. 

While that fragment of historical information from the French Revolu- 
tion had been fermenting in Alfred’s mind, he expanded the range of 
Harold’s anxieties by bu)’ing an ailing Sunday newspaper, the IVechly 
Dispatch, making an offer for the Bimin^hasn Oasette, sending his personal 
representative to scout the prospects for a nesv morning paper in New- 
castle, and inventing the Daily Mirror. The H'eekly Dispatch, which was a 
hundred years old, had passed afrermany vicissitudes into the hands of Sir 
George Netvna. His Congregational iffuudes prcvmred him from de- 
wloping the paper along the sensational lines of irs chief competitors, 
Uoyd' s Sunday A'eti'i ana the of the World, which had practically 
driven the Weekly Dispatch out of the market. With its circulation down 
to 5,000 copies, Newncs ss'as glad to get rid of the paper to the Harms- 
wortlts for ^25,000. It flourishes in this modem age as the Sunday Dispaith 
with a readership of millions. Nothing came of the proposed Dirmingiuin 
and Nesvcastle ventures. 

As for the Deily Mirror, it appeared svidi the force of an impulse rather 
than srith the assurance of a need. *1116 make-up was fmally settled on 
October 25, 1903, Ten days later the paper was in the hands of the public. 
Either ignoring the trend towards sex equality or interpreting it much too 
freely, Alfred Harmsworth w’as caught up by the idea that women should 
have that osvti daily paper. What is more, they should write and edit it. 
He may ha\-e been spurred on by a rumour that a group calling itself the 
Women’s Intermtional Progressive Union had been meeting at the offices 
of W. T. Stead fo discuss a woman’s paper run exclusively in the intercstt 
of that body. 

He wTote m his diar^’ for Nos'cmber i, ipoj: 'Came dossn to the 
"Mirror” office, found Kennedy Jones in full ssvinp, and after the usual 
pangs of childbirth produced the tint copy at 9.50 p.m. It looks a pro- 
mising child but umc will show whether we arc on a svinner or not.’ The 
birthplace was 2 Carmelite Street, where the Daily Mail had first seen the 
hght. As a binJiday pfr. readers in many parts of the country received a 
gih-and-cnamel Pompadour-style band mirror. The next day Alfred 
sstote: 'Numerous letten and telegrams of congratulation on the appear- 
ance of the new child. Great demand — machines going until the after- 
noon; total 2715,000.’ Tlie elaborate rehearsal Icssonsoflhc Daily hid 


NORTHCUFFB 


been swept aside. The first issue of die Daily Mirror looked like an illus- 
trated daily eition of Tit-Bits. 

The editor was Mary Howarth, who had been in charge of the Daily 
Mail women s features. She was supported by ‘a large staff of cultivated, 
able and experienced women’, to quote from a preliminary announce- 
ment. Half a dozen tramed editorial men had been brought in, perhaps to 
reassure the proprietor rather than die ladies. When someone remarked 
that the office was like a setting for a FrcncJi farce, ‘with women rushing 
in and out’, a colleague ungallantly retorted: ‘In a French farce they would 
be beautiful.’ The strain of getting out the first few issues was intense. 
There were several fainting cases among the women. Alfred bad cham- 
pagne sent in to revive them. Over the office hung the menace of the 
aotible-enfendre. Proof-readers were seen liurrying like fugitives into comers 
where they could bring die latest horrifying example to the attention of 
editorial men. The Daiiy Mirror ladies upset even theic ardent champion, 
the proprietor, by using words like ‘soup^on* and ‘yclept’ in their copy. 
Soon the men w«e moved up into command. The oiangc was made 
abruptly during a weekend. On Friday lught, the woman editor’s room 
was hke a boudoir. By Monday morning the scene was transformed. Gone 
were the dainty wall mirrors, the chintz curtains and the Queen. Anne 
chain. Masculinity had taken over, surrounded itself with varnished deal 
office equipment and filled the room svith pipe smoke and cynical 
laughter. The new editor was Hamilton Fyfc, brought over from the 
Morning Advertiser, organ of the licensed victualling trade. Fyfe, who had 
been secretary to G. E. Buckle, editor of The Times, was a good-looking 
Scot in Ws early thirties. He had an actor’s face and voice but was a little 
too plodding to be the romantic figure that he undoubtedly supposed him- 
self to be. To lum fell the ungtadous task of dhmisiing the Doily Mirror 
women with three months’ salary in lieu of notice. ‘They begged to be 
allowed to stay. They left little presents on my desk. They waylaid me 
tearfully in corridors. It was a horrid experience — like drowning kittens.’ 
Prefacing his letters of dismissal Fyfe wrote: . in view of impending 

changes that arc to be made in the paper.’ 

Changes were not merely impending. They were a matter of despera- 
tion. Nothing, it seemed, could stop the downward plunge. Three presses 
had been needed to produce the first day’s issue. Soon, one of them was 
idle, then two. The Daily Mirror ranhcadlonginto a loss of;{^3,ooo a week. 
By the time the lowest sale of 24,801 copies was reached, Harold Harms- 
wotth ^vas going about hke a stricken man. ‘There was consternation at 
Carmelite House.’ The words are Cedi Harmsworth’s. ‘Alfred had for 
once completely misinterpreted die popular mind.’ It was the worst set- 
back that his reputation had suffcrccL Nothing like it had befillcn any 
previous Harmsworth venture. 

278 



DAWN OF A NEW AGE 

Because his innovation of the Daily Mail women’s page was a success, 
he had seen in it the inspiration of a larger aim. He believed that women 
could be seduced for a penny from dicir allegiance to the sixpenny Queeti 
and Ladies’ Field. The class note had been sounded in the preliminary 
publicity: it was to be ‘a daily newspaper for gentlewomen*. Apparently 
bis highly charged emotional respect for women had coloured his vision 
to a point of absurdity. It is hard to counter the opinion tliat in its original 
form the Daily Mirror was a ridiculous production. The spectacle of the 
austerely dressed, would-be efficient women in the Daily Mirror office 
who, as Alfred Harmsworth told a friend, ‘wore the most manly collars 
and cuffs', should have convinced him that women aspired to a greater 
identity of interests with men, that his notion of separateness was a clumsy 
if not a profound misreading of their instincts. It cost the Harmsworths 
£ioo,q(X). a large part of that sum came out of Alfred’s pocket. When 
Harold suggested cutting the loss and stopping the paper, Alfred shook 
lus head like a punished prize-fighter and vowed to go on until the 
problem was solved. 

The means of salvation was the half-tone block, adapted to the speed 
of newspaper printinc. Arkas Sapt, on the staff of the Illuslraled Mail 
(formerly Sunday Daily Mail) had begun experiments several years before 
as editor of another Harmsworth periodical, Home Sweet Home. In certain 
of his moods Sapt was misttken for a genius, an impression deepened by 
his casual attitude to time and money. Alfred Harmsworth ’s belief in him 
'vas a tribute ro Sapt’s abilities, Im style of life being Bohemian, in 
Alfred’s vocabulary a term of contempt. By the perversity of existence, 
Sapt’s personal ustes saved the Harmsworths’ money; his improvidence 
forced lum to commute his commission on Dally Mirror sales for a fesv 
hundred pouni. He micht have been an extremely well-off man. 

Supporting Sapt morally and financially, in particular against Harold's 
pcssinusm, Alfred prevented a Fleet Street fiasco. Hamilton F>’fi: wrote 
that 'he dramatically disappointed all who believed tliat his career was 
broken. He had snatched viaory from the jaws of defeat*. If was too 
pncroui a fesamony. It overlooked the Arcat to Alfred’s se!f-esrccm. He 
had not sliown the divination, die sure touch, of his earlier ventures. 
Apparently Ac stnglc-mindedness which had been one of his most dis- 
unctive and, for that matter, most profitable characteristics, svas blurred 
by Im multiplying prcoccupanons. In New York, Arcc years before, he 
had objected to newspaper illustrarion, declaring it ‘unnecessary, a mere 
matter of habit*. In London, hu Illustrated Mail (superseding die Sunday 
Daily Maifj vsus a IjmsIi user of line drassingr. some of diem die ss’orkof 
accomplislird artists. On January 2S, 1904, the Daily Mirror vs-as renamed 
Ac Daily lUustraifJ Mirror: *A Paper for Mni and Women.’ Its price was 
lowered to a halfpenny. Three months bter, on April 28, it became the 


279 



NORnicum: 


Dai/y Mirm again: ‘An Illustrated Paper for Men and Women.’ Its page 
size was reduced and its make-op was lused on the prindplcs wWch 
Alfred had esubUshed for Ms uventicth-century version of the New York 
IVorld. The wedding of an American heiress was given six inches of space; 
the death of a famous historian two inches. Readers learned that Mrs 
Cornwallis-West ‘has a piauinc chcckincss*, and that ‘several women are 
making haniomc dress allowances out of their victims at bridge’. Here 
was London s first ‘tabloid’ nc\srspaper. 

He had published a personal statement; ‘How I Dropped ^too.ooQ on 
the Mirror’, admitting ‘flat, rank and unmitigated failure*. Witlt equal 
candour, he forecast success. Tf die Ddly JiJirrer had not failed, I should 
not have found out so promptly that the public wanted a daily picture 
paper.’ The statement may have been thought arrogant by the propricton 
of the Daily Graphic, wlio had been puhlishing that penny illustrated 
paper with moderately good results tlmugh tlie last fifteen years. But 
they had no Sapt in their office. They still relied cliiefly on woodcuts and 
line drawnngs for their illustrations, only tentatively using half-tone.Also, 
their ptintinff speed was slow, ti.ooo copies an hour. Sapt was certain 
that he could do berter and Alfred Hanmsworih gave him a Hoe rotary 
press to play with. No one had yet managed to print half-tone on a fast 
machine. Taking his ‘pulls’ every morning to Harmsworth, Sapt did it. 
The first results looked like child’s play. *What a chasUy messt’ Alfred 
exdaimcd on seeing one of the fint page proofs of Sapt’s handiwork. It 
drov a letter from a member of the staff of Raphael Tuck & Sons, the 
fine art printers: T know you will not mind my poking fun at the Daily 
Mirror, but the illustrations have been so kiliingly funny that they are 
really puzzle pictures. In the Daily Miner you have an e.xccUent publica- 
tion, but the illusttalions arc so very, very svanting — end it is oil ciie to the 
photographs re^tiring special treofineiit bejore being reproduced.' it W’as a 
valuable hint, presumably acknowledged. Retouching enabled the Daily 
Minor to print better pictures. Better quality ink made its impression in 
more than the mechanical sense, while a young and exuberant circulation 
staff, led by the aggressive, fierce-eyed Dubbs, clinched those necessary 
improvements by reporting incrcasro sales cs'crysvhere. 

Ludiaous emergencies arose before the tide turned. There ^^’as only one 
dark room, nearly always in use. Late night crises were caused by over- 
eager news photographers dashing into the room while plates were being 
developed, spoiling results. Acids from the engraving room, flushed into 
dr^pipes and sewers, led to ififftculties with the sanitary department of 
the Corporation of London. One night die office electricity fuses blew 
out with a cataclysmic flash. The editorial staff worked on in flickering 
candlelight and got the first edition on to the machines only a few minutes 
late. Blocks went astray between die office and the art department, which 
280 



NORTIICUFFE 


his cultural preciosity. Soon Kcncaly superseded him. The son of the 
eccencnc barrister who defended die Tjchbomc claimant, Kcncaly was 
short and rotund and afflicted with a nervous cough and a mild com- 
pulsion mania, a habit of tearing up pieces of paper as he talked at his desk, 
scattering them over his blotter ano then catcfuUy scooping them up and 
dropping them into the wastepaper basket It was a neurotic routine that 
had to be gone through many times a day. 

Kcncaly was and is still credited with being 'the man who saved the 
Mi'rrcf, and his touch was at times brilliant. He was served by a group 
of ardent young enthusiasts for the new-stylc daily journalism who gave 
the paper the effervescence which it has retained through more than 
fifty years. Before long, the daily sale was 400,000 copies. Later, a change 
of editorial tone would sendit soaring into the millions. Writing pris'ateiy 
of the lowered standards which led to that spectacular climax of the 
paper’s fortunes, Cecil Harmsworth said with emphasis that ‘if they had 
been promoted under the proprietorship of Alfred, there would have been 
short shrift indeed for those responsible*. In that event, the D<« 7 y Minor 
would have been unlikely to justify its technically impressive mid<entuiy 
claim to ‘the largest daily sale on eatth*. 


Mary Harmsworth to Alfred Harmsworth: 


Sutton Place, 
by Guildford, 

Surrey. 

[Undated] 

My darling Sir Alfred,’ — I must be the first to tell you how glad and happy I 
am to know that you have gained recognition for the hard work of years. No 
one, dear, deserves it mote than you — but the happiest thought of all to me is 
that we began life together and have been together through all the years of work 
which have earned you distinction and fortune so young. My fond love and 
every congratulation &om 

Your loving 
■Wife 

A laconic diaw note for Fcbniaty 26, 1904: ‘Conversation with the 
King’, may have had no bearing on the &ct that his name appeared among 
the baronets in the Birthday Hemours list bsued on the evening of 
June 23, 1904. The growth of the popular press had already received 
acknowledgment in the form of official honours. Two London newspaper 
proprietors had been made mcts during the past few years. Newncs had 
long been a baronet. Sever^ jounultsts had been knighted. Acquainting 



DAWN OF A NEW AGE 

Ncwncs with the Sovereign’s wish, die Prime Minister had referred to his 
‘services to popular literature’. There was no similar Harmsworth dtarion. 
The diary tells us: ‘Over 200 telegrams received at Berkeley Sqiure before 
midnight’, and, the next day: ‘Sudi a day of congramlations as amazed 
me.’ The day after that, at Sutton: ‘Wife and I dealing with avalanche of 
letters and telegrams.’ 

Among the letters that he preserved was one from Henry Arnholz, the 
solicitor: ‘17 Great Winchester Street, London, E.C. Little <hd I think in the 
far-off days when you fought my battles for me at school, and when you 
gave me birthday presents (one of which — a box of chemicals — I still 
possess), that I should have the privilege of congratulating you on re- 
ceiving a Birthday Honour.* The letter toucheef a sympathetic chord. 
Arnholz had been given occasional opportunities of acting legally for his 
old school champion. Now he was able to add to the japanned deed-boxes 
a brand-new one inscribed: Sir Alfred Harmsn/orth, Bart. For Arnholz, 
Alfred remained the hero of his boyhood years, an admiration that he 
never lost. Fearing perhaps to risk it by /armharity, he mairttained a strict 
punctilio in his dealings vrith his old friend. Often Alfred wrote to him 3$ 
My dear Henry’, Arnholz always responded formally, a habit that he 
never rdaxed, though their association became more intimate as time 
went by. 

The Times and the Morning Pest, pillars of the Party which had honoured 
him, gave only a few lines to the news of his baronetcy. The Daily 
Telegraph said that ‘to few men has it been given to win so much success 
in so limited a time’. The Daily Chronicle said that ‘Mr Harmsworth’s is 
the name of the most general interest in a bst that is more remarkable 
for quantity than qiuUty’. Touching on the importance ofoppommity in 
relation to personal fortune, the newspaper stated that 'he has done as 
much as any man living to revolutionize British journalism’. The Bystander 
quipped that he controlled thirty periodicals, ‘and an indeterminate 
number of broilicrs'. Only a little while before die chief proprietor of die 
Daily S'eu’s, George Cadbury, bad svritten to thank him for *a kindly 
notice’ of h« connection with that neu-spaper and had said that it was his 
policy ‘to urge that personalities be avoided as far as possible’. His writ 
did not run on this occasion. The paper hinted at a msparity of public 
service benveen Harmssvordt and Edvwd Elgar, 'the composer of The 
Apostles’, one of the new knights. 

Any hurt feelings that Alfred may have lud were solaced by the ovation 
he received at a dinner given in his honour ten dajt later by two hundred 
senior members of his newpaper and publishing stafls. 'Surprised to find 
that I thorouglily aijoycd it. Much touched by die kind fecimp shown to 
me.’ He concocted a small joke which went the office rounds: ‘1 ss'as tired 
of hcantig so-and-so call me “Mr ’AmiswOfdi”. It’ll hcaclunp^e to hear 

283 



NORTIICUFFE 


him sa)' “Sir //alfrcd”.’ In the ofEci^ his elevation in tlie social hierarchy 
set the seal on the practice of calling him ‘Chief’. Now he more often 
used that term in signmg his written communications to the staff. 

It seemed to those around him that his naturally dominating personal 
style had gathered new force. It had become more commanding, in- 
timidating his fellow men with the notion that while he did not scorn 
their comphments, he preferred the approval of the gods. His capacity to 
impose himself on others, to charm but also to repel, had increased. He 
alternated ominously between the mudi adulated boyishness of heart and 
gloomy preoccupation m whicli he seemed remote even from his friends. 
His movements had become more jerky, as if reflecting inner restlessness. 
‘Fertier, the great nerve specialist, examined me’, he wrote in the diary 
for Match 22, 1904. Like his rotary presses, his brain was working 
twenty-four hours a day. 

He ^vas putting on weight and worrying about it to the extent of 
repeatedly checking it on the scales. He made notes showing constant 
fluctuations between eleven and twelve stones, his marginal comments 
reading: ‘Not so rosy’, 'Down again, thank goodness', 'Triumph of self- 
denial’, 'Good boy'. His chest measurement, recorded by Poole of Savilc 
Row, was 41J inches, waist 41 inches. But his figure was still that of a 
young man, he still had the sinewy grace, his shoulders were still firm and 
broad, maintaining the look of deceptive physical strength, The forward 
thrust of the head could be more aggressive now, and the face was set in 
his father’s distinctive mould, tempered by a pink and white delicacy of 
feature which was Byronically combinca with muscular vigour. T. P. 
O’Connor had Utely written of liim with a characteristic flourish: The 
extraordinary thing is the almost girlish transparency of the complexion. 
The whole face suggests the almost ethereal beauty of the cameo.’ 

His way of opening a conversation had become needlessly abrupt, his 
silences more forbidding. Himself quick-witted, he had never found it 
easy to be patient with those who were laborious in explanation. Now, he 
was often brutal about it. He would tiuust out a hand, say 'Good day’, 
and turn aside, leaving the odier penon floundering in mid-speech. When, 
as often happened, tlie dismissal was accompanied by his best smile, the 
victim would be made still more unhappy. He had no talent for dis- 
sembling his feelmgs. When he was bored he could not help showing it. 

Some of tliosc closest to him surrendered the rare privilege of calling him 
‘Alf’. Pemberton wavered between ‘Alfred’ and ‘Chief’. Kennedy Jones 
who had pronounced it ‘Allf’ and never called him ‘Chief’, compromised 
with 'AUfred’. His fishing companion, Nevill Jackson, persisted ivith 
‘Harmy’. Louise Owen, Alfred’s personj secreta^ for a number of years, 
recalled that a new member of the Daily Mail staff whom Alfred addressed 
by his Christian name for the reason that he had known the young man’s 
284 



DAWN OF A NEW AGE 

father, vanished from the Harmsavorth sweetie after a fatal day on which he 
had presumed to respond on the same tomiliar basis. 

The autocratic attitude may have ^rcMcd sorncAingq 

self-importance. He had enough of the family 
about L exceptional good fortune to had singled 
fellows. He would speak of it as •my luek’ and his tone oould have been 
thought apologetic. He had been home >ip >0 rapidly on the pm ^ 
success that, like Polyctates, he dreaded b^ luck. Aiiydmg b d 
it was Cecd Rhodeses motto and Alfred Hicmswotth s “'“'gh 
ratioualize his situation by taking the ™^,\'™An.“e°tly 

Kismet. He would say: 'C/ie sum sW, what wdl be, mil be AppmV 
he required to placate a feeling °f hmig mystenously as weU as m.^ 
veUously fortunate. The arbitrariness which he tended “ 

in Us behaviour, the less stable moo* mid *<= P.=tol“« "U* could 
bring dismay to those who thought they knew him , ® , jf ),s 

imuTune ftoL it, all tUs argued some psyehie discomfort, almost as 
resented his relative immunity from the blows ot late. 


z85 



chapter Eleven 


No Longer an Island 




Reading the Daily Mail one day towards the end of October 1904, Alfred 
Harmsworth sent a memorandtim to the editor; 

Exactly what’s wrong with the modem washing machine is that we 
the clothes in the boil at once and the colours run, then you wring ’em and fold 
’em and iron diem into neat squares and out they come all of a pattern. For the 
sake of variety and individuality, don’t, I beg. 

The machine analogy was apt enough. He conducted his newspaperJ 
by a series of explosions, suggesting imperfect internal combustion. Even 
so, what he had set in motion eight years before had become the best 
equipped and most efficient otgamzation of the kind anywhere. Recently, 
the Dully Muil bad conquered its last territory in the circulation battle of 
the rime by appearing on breakfast tables in me West of England, where 
formerly it had been arriving two hours later. No commcniirion of that 
foit of production and distribution gratified Alfred Harmsworth more 
than a letter sent to him by three members of the Herefordshire county 
council education committee, -who wrote: ‘You ate conferring a great 
boon on us.’ Pleased by that testimony to his emancipating power, he 
told his secretary: ‘Send them a nice reply.’ The record-breaking Great 
Western Railway locomotive, City of Bath, racing through the night, 
helped to make more than newspaper lustory in 1904. If it also lent force 
to Lord Melbourne’s fear of general education ‘filling the people’s heads 
with nonsense which it would be impossible ever to get out of them 
aMin’, it was enabling many more people to make exating discoveries 
about the world they lived in. Every day, the Daily Mail brought the 
breath of adventure into hundreds of diousands of homes. No newspaper 
before had done as much. There was ithyrambic gush about the birth of 
286 



NO LONGER AN ISLAND 

princes and the death of kings, hut there was also a great deal of info^- 
ri^ soS pohtical and ecLotnic. that had not ptevtouslv been withm 
the reach of L tnultitade. Alfred Harmsworth's W- 

ful instrument of change in the hves of the people It Inied ^ 

ever tenuouslv, with the intellectual resources of the nation, broadening 
and deepening their interests and giiring them vicarious j 

h^acriSim— 

tSXinTrr»::d:oXtu 

°l5irc“ fcdXrlwotth-s made .He Dadp " 
medium of a puhhc spirit wHch was 

newspaper power notin kind hut in hrcadthofsoaalimpacriThereorfm 

migl^.s^ay Lt this - 

rrre.\m'ri,’attiomXTh&^ 

and condulted primarily as a circulation 

such activities expressed not only Harmswotths readers of his 

hut often drew inspiration from a source “pttUe 

Xlj'ri^a'rs;";^ SfoSflS ^ a 
:ni;7S^r“rAlftd mXfS'S m coSul. her before commitring 
himsdf to those cxtra-mutal enterprises. n-i-nlione in every 

The Daily Mail battled for the htstalUnon of 4= teleptoe m^every 

London police sution, one of its lonpc strugg « engines, 

sense. I, Seconded tlie adoption of X in 

Oppressed by the fate of eight fire ^ ot]ier fire brigade 

Qnien Vicjria Street, Alfred St^ron of the 

reforms. His Daily Mall .Pf^“f'iher compUcated one of 

London tramways system, which would motor-bus is coming’, 

the greatest ttaff/c pSblems »f T'^^ffi^ComlsS. wW lid 
was his reiterated wimmg to the Jhe Wished in 1906. Capital 

Starting the Ofer^of Daily Mail m Novcm esublishing it as a 

terested in its then slender commcraalpwpw mother country 

‘bond of Empire’, a newspaper connccaon between /f 

‘and the scattered hundreds of thousands of Bntons m the far comers 
* I A- Spender. 


287 



NORTHCIIFFE 


the world’. Evelyn Wrench, aged twenty-one, was given the editorship. 
He remained in active association widi the paper for fourteen years. To 
him, Alfred Harnisworth was just like a light-hearted young uncle or 
cider brother’, who told him: ‘Businesses grow old rapidly. I make a 
rule never to bring m anyone from outside over the age of twenty-five. 
Wrench subsequently wrote; 


He sometimes advanced young men too rapidly and in the first flush of 
enthusiasm made promises which were not carried our. The cynics in the office, 
when some recently discovered youthful genius was introduced to the Chief, 
used to smile knowingly and wonder how long the newcomer would survive 
the trials which awaited him later on, when the sun was no longer shining, and 
when he had to make Ins way painfully tlirough the valley of discouragement 
and disapproval. 

Men already established in his offices were encouraged to expect pro- 
motion that never came. There was an angry letter from one of ms earliest 
employees, Houghton Townley, who fclt himself disparagingly over- 
looked if not forgotten; ‘though I do not come and throw btiew at your 
window’. Undoubtedly there was hanhness, not aD of it derived irom 
Alfred Harmsworth personally. He was bbmed for the behaviour of his 
departmental heads. Kennedy Jones’s method brought him undeserved 
epithets. It was ‘K.J.’ who originated the system of engaging almost any 
likely applicant for an cdicorialjob on a three-months' trial basis, usually 
at a rate of pay well beyond what he had earned before. When, for lack 
of competence or some defect of personality, the arrangement was not 
renewed, the disappointed young journalist would enlarge the legend of a 
ruthicssness which general^ recoded on Alfred Harmsworth pcnonally. 
He was himself capable of indifTetcncc to the fate of those who did not 
conform to his standards of proficiency, for him an indispensable aspect of 
character. He liked men to be quick in thought and action. He preferred 
that they should have what he called a good-shaped head. A man with a 
large head was hkely to make a stronger impression on him than a man 
with a small head. He was not always so discrinunating in his approval of 
services rendered and men svho riiought that his smile or an appredarive 
memorandum meant security of favour were sometimes cruelly dis- 
illusioned. There were rumouK of die suicideofvictims of his capricious- 
ness, the tragic element in the lives of weak men being exaggerated into an 
indictment of a personal power which, considering its scope and duration, 
was not often abused. Documents of the period show his impulses being 
most generously touched iw personal crises and Sir Evelyn Wrench has 
told in his autobiography how at the age of twenty-one he was saved 
from financial disaster by Alfred Harmsworth's ready help. To set against 





NORTHCUiTE 


the world’. Evelyn Wrench, aged twenty-one, was given the editorship. 
He remained in active association widi the paper for fourteen years. To 
him, Alfred Harmsworth was just like a light-hearted young uncle or 
elder brother’, who fold him: 'Businesses grow old rapidly, i make a 
rule never to bring m anyone from outade over the age of twenty-five. 
Wrench subsequently wrote: 


He sometimes advanced young men too rapidly and in tbe first flush of 
enthusiasm made promises which were not carried out. The cynics in the office, 
when some recently discovered youthful genius was introduced to the Chief, 
used to smile knowuigly and wonder how long the newcomer would survive 
the trials which awaited lum later on, when die sun was no longer shining, and 
when he had to make liis way painfully through the valley of discouragement 
and disapproval. 

Men already established in his offices were encouraged to expect pro- 
motion that never came. There was an angry letter from one of lus earliest 
employees, Houghton Townicy, who frit himself disparagingly over- 
looked if not forgotten; ‘though I do not come and throw bricks at your 
window*. Undoubtedly there was harshness, not all of it derived from 
Alfred Harmswordi personally. He was blamed for the behaviour ofhis 
departmental heads. Kennedy Jones’s methods brought him undeserved 
epithets. It was ‘K.J.’ who originated the system of engaging almost any 
likely applicant for an editorial job on a three-months’ trial basis, usuallv 
at a rate of pay well beyond what he had earned before. When, for lack 
of competence or some defect of persomliry, the arrangement was not 
renewed, the disappointed young joumabst would enlarge the legend of a 
ruthlessness which generally recoiled on Alfred Harmsworth personally. 
He was himself capable of indifference to the fate of those who did not 
conform to his standards of proficiency, for him an indispensable aspect oi 
character. He liked men. to be quick in thought and action. He preferred 
that tliey should have what he called a good-shaped head. A man with a 
large head was likely to make a stronger impression on him than a man 
with a small head. He was not always so discriminating in his approval of 
services rendered and men who thought that his smile or an appredadve 
memorandum, meant security of favour were sometimes cruelly dis- 
illusioned. There were rumours of foe suicide of victims ofhis capricious- 
ness, foe tragic clement in the lives of weak men being exaggerated into an 
indictment of a personal power which, considering its scope and duration, 
was not often abused. Documents of the period show his impulses being 
most generously touched by personal crises and Sir Evelyn Wrench has 
told in liis autobiography how at foe age of twenty-one he was saved 
from financial fosaster by Alfred Harmswoith’s ready help. To set against 



NO LONGER AN ISLAND 


the generosity, tlierc was the e^^erience in 1905 of the subsequently 
eminent King’s Counsel, Sir Edward Marshall Hall, who in a libel action 
had made a tasteless refereitce to Harmsworth’s wife. Thereafter, by Alfred 
Harmsworth’s strict command, he was referred to in all Daily Mail law 
and social reports as ‘Mr M. Hall’. That petty revenge was made the 
ground for scornful comment on Harmswortli by critics who did not 
know that he had refrained from retaliating on an earlier occasion when 
Marshall Hall had attacked the Harmswottii press in highly intemperate 
language. 

Yet, at the same time, Alfred was showing the greatest solicitude for 
the young editor of Answers, S.J. Summers, who was over-exerting him- 
self to the detriment of his health in making a success of his job. Summers, 
Alfred insisted, was to move into a room next his own, ‘so that I can keep 
an eye on him’. The young editor’s death svas an emotional shock which 
Alfred could not conceal. ‘I was amazed’, he scribbled in his diary; and for 
some time after he could not bring himself to go into Summers’s room. 


Fiscal controversy was the dominant pohtical theme, with Joseph Cham- 
berlain planning to sweep dre country with Tariff Reform and H. H. 
Asquith in charge of the Free Trade demolition squads following his 
every move. For the moment Alfred Hatmsworth's mercurial politics 
were steadied. He was a Chamberlain man. In the beginning he was in- 
clined to oppose Chambetlam and the ‘stomach taxes’, as he called them 
in the Daily Mail. He had proposed that Rosebery should put himself at 
the head of the Free Trade movement and make speeches in conformity 
with a whirlwind campaign to be worked out between them. Rosebery 
did not care for the idea. From that rime the two ‘neighbours’ ofBerkeley 
Square parted company. In J. A. Spender’s hearing, he described Rosebery 
as ‘hopeless’. He had evidently been prepared to risk the displeasure of a 
considerable part of his Daily Mail public, for tliat newspaper was not a 
Liberal organ. Cecil Harmsvvorth believed that the effect of so violent a 
policy change ‘might have been disastrous’. He also wrote: ‘Alfred was 
never a supporter of the whole programme of any political party.’ When, 
some years after, Spender was challenged by Leicester Harmsworth for 
havmg named Alfred as a TariffRcformcr, Spender replied: 'I am my own 
witness in this matter, for X knew your brodiet intimately in those years. 
In his uiks with me he was always a Protectionist and we had many argu- 
ments on the subject. He always, m those days, attributed what he called 
the “colossal" success of the U.S.A. to protection.' 

In an undated letter to Lord Robert Cecil, Alfred wrote; ‘You know 
that I am a very keen Tariff Reformer, but tlut is not the discussion at the 

289 L 




NO LONGER AN ISLAND 

the London Daily Mail. The fiist issue of the Continental Daily Mail 
appeared from 3 Place de laMaddeineon May 22, 1905. Lane, who under 
his middle names, Norman AngelJ, ■wrote Tne Great Illusion and became 
a Nobel Prize winner, was a Sodalist and a frank critic of the Harmsworth 
kind of power, while remaining an admirer and friend of Alfred Harms- 
worth, with whom he worked in harmony for ten years. In his auto- 
biography, After All (1951), he considered ‘the Chief’s’ reputation for 
rudilessness. He said that it ivas »aggerated. ‘If he felt that a sacking was 
called for, he generally made an attempt to find another place for the 
victim.’ After an angry outburst, Alfred remarked to Angell: ‘A man as 
powerful as I am ought not to let his temper get away with him.’ 

That same month he bought The Observer. Apart from its long history 
and tradition of independence, which quite naturally appealed to him, the 
paper provided him ■with an opportunity to show his capability of winging 
to the higher flights of journalism. He paid about for a circulation 

which swung curiously between 2,000 in winter and 4,000 in summer, 
knowing that he could expect no prosperity from it until the sales had 
somehow been pushed up to at least 40,000. It involved him in heavy 
expense and a variety of mechanical and editorial problems. By then he 
was thoroughly assured of his resources. His net income for the year ending 
Mard: 31, 1905, was 3(^11 5,000. Apart from his heavy shareholdings in the 
family businesses, he had stock worth ,(^300,000. He at once offered the 
editorship of The Observer to J. L. Garvin, then editing The Otuhoh, a six- 
penny review, and writing wr die Daily Telegraph. Garvin was not yet 
ready to make a change wmch was eventually to provide scope in plenty 
for his splendid journalistic gifts. 

Harms-worth put money into the Manchester CoHn'fr in an attempt to 
make it ‘the Icamng Conservative organ of the North', a venture which 
became an expensive nitisance to him over several years. He acquired an 
interest in the bright social weekly Inanity fair. He paid ,(^14,000 for the 
controlling shares in The World, Edmund Yates’s old paper, persuading 
himself that ‘it might be converted into a “town and country’’ journal, 
making a strong bid for business monopolized by Country Life'. He put 
;Cio,ooo into the East of England Newspaper Company, of Norwich. 
None of those enterprises responded satisfactorily to his practised touch. 
Examining the position of the East of England Newspaper Company, Im 
solicitors, Lewis & Lewis, found that he had shown small concern for the 
safety of his money. It transpired that he had invested his f^io.ooo in the 
character of a friend rather man in the prospects of a business, which had 
in fact lost f^i6,ooo. The friend ■was Edward E. Peacock, sometime 
manager of the Monting Post and honorary secretary of the Savage Club. 
Yet when another and closer friend. Hugh Spottiswoode, of His Majesty’s 
Printing Office, wrote in considerable stress of mind asking for a loan on 


291 



NORTHCUFFE 


moment. The brutal fact is, of course, dut \vc arc all under die influence 
of the invalid at Highbury [Chamberlainj, ivho is never allowed to hear 
the truth. I do not, however, take so pessimistic a view as to the result of 
the Election as you do.’ 

April I, 1905, was another of the Harmsworth red-lettct da^. The 
Daily Mail, the Evening Nciw, the Weeltly Dispatch, and their subsidiary 
publications, were incorporated in a company to be known as Associated 
Newspapers Ltd., with a capital of j()i,6oo,<»o. It was an edifice crownmg 
Alfred’ s years of inspiration, hard work and good luck. Bank staffs worked 
through the night, coping with the rush of applications for shares. 

Visiting Paris, he often complained that no London morning paper svas 
to be had there until mudi later in the day. The only available newspapers 
printed in EngHsh were tbc Daily Messenger, formerly Galagnani’s Mes- 
senger of ancient lineage, and the Paris edition of the Mew York UeraU, 
both poor productions by his standards. The Entente Cordialc having 
created a better atmosphere, he resolved to print and publish in Paris an 
edition of the Daily Mail which would circulate in many parts of the 
continent, reaching readers several hours earlier than any of the London 
papers. 

The technical challenge was in itself an incitement. It was a daring idea, 
transmitting the contents of a London newspaper by telephone and re- 
producing it in print in the French capital each morning. There were 
more compulsive considerations. He dishked the idea of an American 
newspaper gaining a monopoly of English-speaking readers in Europe. 
There were those around him who doubted whether enough circulation 
could be secured to justify the additional heavy expense of transmitting 
news and other matter by private wire from Lon^n every day. It had 
always pleased Hm to defy the doubts of business men. If he presumed 
that such a newspaper would still further extend his sphere of influence, 
he also believed that it would have a missionary purpose, that the Con- 
tinental Daily Mail would serve the interests of England abroad. 

The Daily Messefi^cr, nearing its last gasp, had been offered to him by 
its manager, Ralph Lane. He would not buy it, but intimated that he 
would employ Lane, who had die qualifications to help him start the Paris 
Daily Mail. ‘WiU fifty thousand pounds be enough, with a further fifty 
thousand in reserve? You can make three major mistakes and I shall not 
hold it against you. After that, we’ll see.’ Organizing the telephone and 
tdegrapb arrangements from the Lond<Mi end was Andrew Caird, who 
had to deal with Governments as well as with individuals. The French 
authorities made it a condition that there should be no French domestic 
politics in the paper. Nortlicliffe reminded the staff: ‘We ate guests of the 
French people. It is not polite to discuss our hosts’ internal affairs.' Pro- 
minent on the editorial side was W. M. McAlpin, Paris correspondent of 


290 



NO tONGER AS ISLAND 


\vidaicd when Hildebrand’s chanffeur came before the courts on a serious 
motoring charge. Alfred was extremely angry because the case brought 
the family name into the police reports. Hildebrand undoubtedly tended 
to uke life too easily, but behind his light and chaffing manner was an 
astute business brain. Though he lost ^80,000 as the proprietor of a 
London evening ncsvspapcr, T?ic Globe, from 1908 to 1911, he held on 
doggedly to his family shares and by judicious management built up a 
fortune of ^i,6oo,oco, part of the residue of which he left to Merton 
College, Oxford. 

Leicester Harmsworth’s depanure from the boardroom of tlic Harms- 
worth periodicals business in 1906 severed its most valuable family con- 
necdon, excepting that of the two oldest brothers. Panly because of 
enduring ill-health, partly because a publication which he had sponsored 
two or tltrcc years previously had bcOT ‘knifed’ in his absence by Harold 
in one of his pessimistic drives for economy, Leicester had decided to 
follow his osvu star. He bought shares in the company making the 
Darracq motor-car and within a year was richer by 4100,000. He then 
joined Sir George Nc\s-ncs and others in oil company flotations, in which 
he lost a small fortune and made a large one. As a preliminary to those 
ventures he needed ready monej* and to get it put his Harmswortli shares 
on the market. Alfrcdobjectcd.moreparticularlyasLticcstcr was proposing 
to sell them to Sir John Ellcrman. the shipping magnate. Leicester was 
stiffened in his resolve to put himselfbeyond Alfred’s summarj’jurisdiction. 
'It IS not easy to find people you would care to be associated \Wih', he 
ssTocc to Alfred, Tiiere ssis never a quarrel. The two brotliers were on 
amicable terms through the years that remained. 

In 1905. Alfred and Harold were expanding thdr power and oppor- 
tunities into new realms. Ever since the South African war tjicy had been 
concerned to have behind them a full year’s supply of paper to nieer 
emergenaes. Tlie emergency they most feared was u’ar in Europe. 
Ma)^on Bectori, camped in a rent on the banks of the Grand falls of the 
Kiver of Exploits m Ncivfoumlland, recommended tlicm to buy timber 
limits in that rt^ion. where there svere abundant spruce and lakes and 
nvrrs to supply the huge quanriries of water required for high-oparir)' 
paper mills. The Hsrmsworih’i foresight, plus Beclon’s judgment, was 
creating an enterprise sshicli would ennch Nesvfoundland and ensure the 
continuance of a popular press at home. Out of their imagination and 
resohitiofi came the Anglo-Neivfoundland Pes’elopnierrt Compiny, svTih 
us j. 100 square miles of territory, its townships, raifwaji, mines, lurboun, 
line of steamdiip and massive output of wood pulp, raw stuffi of papcf- 
makang for the vast nes^paper and periodical circulatiom of congested, 
mdmtrulued England. Harold Ifirmswortli was the principal organizer 
of the project and us resources. It ts fiis monument. 



NORTIICUrFE 


ample security, lie answered (October 25, 1905): 'I am not a moneylender 
and have usually found that loans arc an effective means of parting private 
and business fnendsliips.’ 

Reaching his fortictn birthday dut year, he was a brisk-moving man 
with the appearance of excellent bcaldi and retaining the distinctive good 
looks of his youth. 'Merely to know him, to have the privilege of his 
companionship, was to be exhilarated’; sncIi svas die testimony of one 
ofliis better known editors, J. A. (later Sir John) Hammerton. ‘He exhaled 
a certain tonic quality which, by some — ^and assuredly by myself— was 
defmitely experienced in his presence.* Hammerton wrote tliat ‘in c%’cry 
Harmswordi pablfation, no mafcer how s%hf /us personal part in its 
production may have seemed, some measure of his owm vitality, his own 
enthusiasm, his own optimism, had been communicated to its editor. He 
was thus the coadjutor of all liis numerous editors.’ 

He chose on occasions to speaks of Iris staffs as ‘one big happy family’, a 
simile which may have gratified him personally but which may nave 
seemed dubious to those who knew of the jealousies and feuds under the 
surface loyalties. Moreover, there were diangcs in the Harmsworth inner 
circle. St.John, w)jo had no flair for ibejoomalisric life, had recently de- 
cided that his future lay elsewhere. Alfred liad hoped that St.John would 
fill a directorial post on the Duii/ M^il and had sent him to 

France to improve his French, saying: ‘At least one of us ought to be able 
to speak that language well.’ On holiday widi his tutor, St.John was shosvn 
a spring of bubbling water in the orenard of a doctor named Perrier at 
Vetgeze, neat Nimes. The spring had been known to the Romans. Its 
reputation was still only local. The elder Harmsworths were astonished to 
learn that St.John was planning to sell his tmily shares in order to buy the 
Perrier sprmg. Encouraged by Molly Harmsworth, but with a good deal 
of opposition from otlicr members of the family, he took the first steps 
towards establishing the internationally known Perrier water business. 
‘The thought of it, the management and control of it, and its advertising, 
were all his,' Cecil Harmsworth wrote. 'The shape of the familiar bottle 
was his idea, taken from In^an clubs lying in a comer of his room. The 
labels on the bottle were of his design.^ St. John was not yet thirty. 

In 1905, Hildebrand left the Amalgamated Press Ltd., after havmg 
given some of his best years to that extremely successflil concern; while 
Leicester, who had been even more successful as a departmental head and 
who shared with Hildebrand one-sixth of the profits over j(^tso,ooo, 
was preparing his exit too. Alfred asked Sutton to try to persuade Hilde- 
brand to take over VeiiUy Fair: '1 am quite sure that if he puts in j^io.ooo 
or 5,000 and ii-orks, he will make money. Not much, but enough, and 
the social position is good. He ouaj/f to have more work to do and Motlicr 
is most anxious that he should? Differences bcuveen the two brothen 
292 



NO LONGER AN ISLAND 


land$. ‘It will give delight to hundreds of thousands, probably millions, 
of little people,’ Alfred Harmsworth wrote to him. ‘And that fact ought 
to be a great joy to you, as it is to me.* In 1946, Hammerton estimated 
that fifty-Uvo million volumes of the ChiUren^s Encyclopcrdia had been 
sold. It is still selling all over die world. 

A telegram was handed to Alfred Harmsworth at Hurley, where he Wis 
staying with Reginald Nicholson, on the morning of December 9, 1905. 
It read; ‘f amjeelin^ very proud today fond love. — Mother.' Her eldest son, 
the morning papers announced, had been r^sed to the ranks of newspaper 
peers. Once again, telegrams and letters of congratulation flowed into 
Carmelite House. Once again, there were murmurings of disapproval. 
What had Sir Alfred Harmsworth done to jusrify his elevation to the same 
lofty sphere as Sir Algernon Borthwick (Lord Glcnesk) of the Morning 
Post, or Sir Edward Latvson (Lord Burnham) of the Daily Telegraplii He 
himself was more immediately concerned with the title which should 
appear in his letters patent; Lord Broadstain or Lord Kingsgatc? Young 
Evciw Wrcndi, who had all the qiuUtics of the perfect aide-de-camp, 
was kept tunning on armigerous errands between ‘the Chief’ and the 
College of Arms. 

Lord Avebury, who, as Sir John Lubbock, had invented Bank Holidays 
and in doing so jeopardized the quieter amenities of more than the shores 
of Kent, wrote to him from 6 St. James's Square, London, S.W,: ‘I hope 
you will not take the name of Kingsgate. Why not St. Peter’s— a very 
pretty name, if you do not like 3 \c perhaps mote imposing one of 
Broadsuirs.’ When someone else thought ot Elmwood for lus title, he 
pretended to shuidcr and said ‘Goodness, no— it’s the wood they use for 
coffins’. The name of ‘Sir Alfred Harmsworth’ was on the point of being 
displaced by ‘Lord Broadslairs’ when he was seized by the more euphonic 
inspiration of Northclifie, taken from a neighbouring part of die coast. 
Evelyn Wrench was sent back to the College of Arms to register it on 
December 15. The right to flourish the Napoleonic cipher ‘N’ may 
have appealed to him more light-heartedly than some people were dis- 
posed to think because bees ssxre incorporated in his coat-of-arm$, like 
Napoleon’s. The motto chosen for the barony was Beni mi srdulo, 
which a scholarly leader WTiter of Fleet Street rendered into ‘Blessed is 
the busybody’. 

’You arc the youigest peer svho has been created,’ Dalfbiir said to him, 
putting }i« arm round lus shoulders and adding svjt)> an unexpected 
show of fcclmg; ‘I am s'Cf)’ proud of you!’ Quoting an earlier remark of 
Alfred Harmsworth ‘s that ’when I want a peerage I svill pay for it like an 
honest nun’, the Ilisiory of The Times states categorically: ‘In fact he did 
pay for hts peerage.’ Asvare of the source of die statement, hJonhchfrc'$ 
biographcn arc surprised (hat credence should have been given to it in 



NORTIICUm: 


There was an afternoon in 1 905 when B. W. Young, the fonner 
office boy who had risen to be sccrcuy of the I larmsworths periooial 
group, heard angry s'oices in *ihc Chirf s room. Immediately aftersvards 
he was sent for hy Sir Alfred. ‘He looked white-faced and upset. Beau- 
mont, the original backer oC Ansuw, had Just left. Alfred Hanmsvorth 
told Young tlul Beaumont was suing lum for fraud. ‘Tliat was the word 
he used’, Alfred said to Young. The StanhrJ, osvncd by C. Arthur 
Pearson, announced rlut 'Sir Alfred Harmsivorth is the principal defendant 
in a gigantic case of newspaper litigation’, stating that Captain A. S. 
Beaumont was alleging tint he had been induced to part with ‘extremely 
valuable shares’ under false pretences. Other newspa^rs gave simibr 
reports, as a result of wliicli a consolidated action for ubcl was brought 
by Alfred Hamisworth. He obtained a full apology from the offending 
newspapen. A writ had been issued against nim by Beaumont but the 
action never went for trial. It was an eruption of the quarrel of nearly 
twenty years before. As part-autlior of the Harmswortli success, Beau- 
mont no doubt coveted a larger share of the royalties. In i$>05 the Amal- 
gamated Press, whicli Beaumont’s money hadf helped to found, paid a 
dividend of forty per cent, against Ncwncs’s ten per cent and Pearson’* 
fifteen. He may nave been spurred to legal action by that opulent declara- 
tion. In the light of the known facts it was unlikely that his case could 
have succeeded. 

Substantially contributing to the extraordinary Amalgamated Press 
profits, which in 1905 were £255.000, was the ‘part worb* publishing 
department which Alfred had inaugurated in 1897 with Sixty Vrars a 
Qiiefn. It had been followed by similar works covering the life of Lord 
Nelson, tlic South African war, another and more intimate biography of 
Queen Victoria immediately after her deaiii, the war between Japan and 
Russia, and die Uarmswerth Encyfhpo’Jia. The Harmstvortlt 
which followed, an even more aboundini; success, was a source of kem 
personal satis&crion to Alfred, svho had 'the heart tliat sceb die public 
wcaV, and who could claim that if sudi publications were animating rather 
than educative they kindled a svish for Knowledge in innumerable minds. 
The Hijrjnsii>ort/i Self~EJticaloT was so popular tliat copies were snatched 
from the boobtalls as soon as a new issue appeared. 

Daring from that time, an office association of Arthur Mec, an earnestly 
sincere Nonconformist from Nottingham, svith Hammerton, the lithe 
Anglo-Scot, soon made the Amalgamated Press imprint respected by the 
book trade, bringing out a succession of best-selling insulmcnt worb and 
die well-found volumes which gave them permanence. Mec’s greatest 
pcnonal triumpli was the ChiUren'i EntythpecHia, wluch he called ‘die 
book of my heart’, a work of irreproachable diaractcr, its page* radiant 
with his naive idealism, a golden treasury for children of all ages and many 


294 



se.ecRKCLer sav«ite. 





Aifrcii'* note to hu ntodicr. the day before the announcement of hit e?evation 
to rfie peerage 



NORTHCUFFE 


that authoritative work. The most searching inquiry has disclosed no 
final reason for beheving that he was party to such a transaction. Harold, 
who joined him in the House of Lords some years later, said: ‘One of the 
advantages of being a newspaper proprietor is that you do not have to 
pay for a title if you want one.’ It is more than likely that Alfred’s pro- 
vincial newspaper activities in J905 were considered sufficient to justify 
an honour for which Balfour, as Prime Minister, presumably thought him 
already well qualified. He had been in close touch witli Balfour and other 
leaders of the admimstration about the future of the Manchester Courser, 
and his investment in the newspaper group at Norwich represented a 
similar readiness of co-operation. His Southern Daily Mail venture may 
also have come into the reckoning. The Manchester Courier, published in 
the Conservative interest, involved him in a total cash outlay of nearly 
;(j50,ooa, which alone might have been counted tlic price of a barony. 
No profit came to him, either, from Last Angha. 

A. J. Balfour to Lord NotthcUffe: 


Whittinghame, 

Prestonkirk, N.D. 
January 17, 1906. 

My dear Lord Notchchffe, — ^The present situation profoundly interests me. In 
part the movement in the constituencies is no doubt due to the old famiEar 
cauies— the swing of the pendulam. and $0 forth, and, in so far as this is the case, 
there is nothing about it worthy of much mote. But 1 am quite confident that 
there ate much deeper causes at woik than those with which, for the last JO 
years, we have been familiar. 

I regard the enormous increase in the Labour vote (an increase which cannot 
be measured merely by the number tetumed of Labour members strictly so- 
called) as a reflection in this country — faint 1 hope — of what is going on on the 
Continent; and, if so, i 9 o <5 will be rentatkabte fiar something much more 
important than the fall of 3 Government which has been 10 years in office! 

Yours sincerely, 

ARTHUR JAMES BALFOUR. 


Northcliffe had come back from Monte Carlo for the general election, 
which swept the Liberals into power. He lunched with Joseph Chamber- 
lain, had talks with Balfour, and supervised the public screening of the 
election results by Daily Mail mag^c lanterns operating on the Embank- 
nient and in Trafalgar Square. Coloured signal rockets fired from the 
highest roofs, to tell more distant watchers how the election was going, 
gave a carnival touch to a night whidr a visitor from abrijad might have 
thought was dedicated to a great spotting event rather than a serious 
democratic process. 


296 



NO LONGER AN ISLAND 

carried copies of the Dciiy Mail 6om Whitc&iars Street to Paddmgton. 
Nicholson said that NorthcUffe took the joke against himself ‘very well — 
in fact he was delighted’. Nicholson was also instructed to pay /^i2,ooo 
for a nine years’ lease of 22 St. James's Place, once the home oftamuel 
Rogers, the banker-poet, whose ‘breakfasts’ became part of literary his- 
tory. A charming small house overlooking the Green Park, sandwiched 
among the great town residences of the older nobility, its threshold had 
been crossed by Sir 'Walter Scott, Wordssvorth, Coleridge, Sydney 
Smith, Byron, Turner and Dideens, some of the names on Rogen s lush 
visiting list. His friends called the home ‘Memory Hall’. He hved there 
fifty years, surrounded by an and book treasures so numerous that when 
he died in 1853 Christie’s took eighteen days to sell them. NotthclifFc to 
Edmund Gosse, librarian of the House of Lords; ‘22 St. James’s Place, 
S. W. — Leo Maxse told me that Austin Dobson is writing an article about 
our little place here. I wonder if you and he would do us the honour of 
lunching one day in the room where Byron met Lady Caroline Lamb.’ 


On the night of July 18, 1906, St. John Hannsworth was motoring back 
to his mother's house at Tottcridge from Honey Hall, Norfolk, where he 
had been staying svith Harold. That day he had played several sets of 
tennis, one of the games at which he excelled. Tired, he gave over the 
wheel to his chauffeur. Near Hatfield, on the Great North Road, Use 
chauffeur misjudged a comer and drove on to tlic verge. The car over- 
fumed, throwing Sr. John against a telegraph post. Recovering from the 
shock, he found that he was almost complctcTy paralysed. He could not 
move a muscle or even close his eyes. A passing motor-cyclist undertook 
to ride into Hatfield for medical help. Dr Charles Hall, a local general 
practitioner, atriwng on the scene, saw dm nothing could be done. 
St. Jolin's spine was fractured. He was taken with infinite care to a cottage 
across the road, where he was made comfortable on the parlour floor. 
He ss-as forced to remain dierc scs-eral weeks, too dangerously hurt to be 
moved. TIjc tenants were peoiudcd (and compensated) to leave. Tlic 
cottage was ukni over by doctors, with frequent visits from Harley 
Street spcaahsis. When finally it was drought ufc to take him to a 
London nursing home, he was packed in sand to protect him from being 
jolted. He never walked again. His life from then on was one of SHCccaivc 
operations, frustrated hones and splendid courage. He was an exemplary 
sufferer, facing the problems ofhts new’ existence ssith undaunted spirit. 
His c.’tpandmg 'Perrier' business was controlled from a wheeled chair. 
The motor-cyclist who had brought aid to him as he lay on the roadside 
was an advertisement clerk. F. A. Procter, on the siafTof Lever Brothers 


599 



NORTIICUFFE 


Joseph Chamberlain to NorthdifFe: 


Imperial Hotel, 
Torquay. 
February 3, 1906. 


ae« Noithdiffc.-Bilfout showed himself so detetmmed 

iiidement, his heeti injurious to the Pam, the Cause and to himsell. 

I can’t Mow him on this path, hut if lie was to offer •’>' ihj 
iWalter Long, later Viscount Long of Wraxhall, Secretary 
Colonies] I see no reason why 1 should in that ease hold aloo . 

I doubt if this solution would commend itself to J 

know that, as fat as I can command. I should see m It an acceptable artanBcmen 
Yours very truly, 

J. CHAMBERLAIN. 


‘To Totter idee with Mother*. Notthcliffe noted in his diary on March 17 . 

igo6.‘Mother’s<iisplayofwildcrocuse$wondcrfulandsheingrea • 

He added: ‘This is the first ume I have touched my diary this ^ 
months its entries had consisted merely of cngageinent notes kept y 
worshipping personal secrecanr, George Mildred. After ten ^ys ^ , 
were blank again, except for monosyllabic ^tiics such as . 5 
‘Sutton’ and ‘Elmwood*. Much of his time and attennon was abso 
by the business of consolidating Associated Newspapers Ltd. , 

Late in June he saUed for New York, Boston. Montreal, 
Newfoundland, a major trip of convalescence after a minor opera o 
his knee, performed by the eminent Sir Victor Horsley. It was ® 8^ 
him his first sight of Newfoundland, where Mayson Becton ^ 
pioneers of the Anglo-Newfoundland Dcvelopmmt Company 
laying out the site of a new town on the edge of the /gj 

harnessing a giant waterfall to the ga^antuan Harmsworth , • 

paper. Northcliffe wrote to his mother, addressing her as Mummy • 
about the ‘vast prosperity of Canada; no poor, homes for millions 

He had given power of attorney during his absence to Reginald 
son, whom he told to sell the Berkeley Square house as he ^5 

tired’ of it. He complained that his sleep was disturbed in the 
by a motor van grinding its way up the Square past the home, 

■was ordered to write to the polia about it. They found that 



NO LONGER AN ISLAND 


cUffc said, ‘with the caution of his race*, had condensed the report of 
the second flight into a four-hne paragraph for the ‘Nc^vs in Brief’ 
colunui. Telephoning from Elmwood to the news editor at his home early 
next morning, Notthcliffc demanded: ‘Don't you realize, man, that 
England is no longer an island}' He challenged public interest everywhere 
by offering a prize of ^lofioo for a flight from London to Manchester. 
The Star derisively offered ^10,000,000 to any airman who flew five miles. 
Punch joined the gleeful chorus, offering large rewards for a flight to the 
moon. A Daily Mail leading article wliich suggested that ‘some consider- 
able time’ would pass before England’s insulariw was finally threatened 
brought a telegram of rebuke from Northcliffc to its writer, H. W. 
Wilson. In another eleven years German acrcrafr were crossing the shores 
of England to drop bombs on London. It tvas Norihcliife who suggested 
a Daily Mail model aeroplane competition that year. Tlie flights were 
made at the Alexandra Palace. North London, with nvisted clastic 
supplving the motive power. In default of a first prize winner, a special 
award of ^75 was made for the best performance to 3 young engineer 
named A. V, Roe, His ‘Avro‘ company was to become one of the great 
names in the British aircraft industry. 

On Dcccmbct i, 1906, the Daily Mail announced an edidon for the 
country’s 40,000 blind persons. It was Northcliffe’s own idea, carried out 
by Evelyn Wrench. An edidon in Braille was set up by blind compositors 
and the proof readers were also blind men. The business experts at Car- 
melite House pointed out tlut die edidon could never be run at a profit, 
but Northchffe insisted on its publication. It was condnued at a loss for 
eight years, unul the outbreak of the 1914 war. He was proud of being its 
originator and referred to it wills manifest sausfaction in more than one of 
his office bullcnns. 

F. W, Wilc, Daily Mail correspondent in Berlin, to Nortbdiffe 
(April zp, 1907): 

It was uinmated to me today, indirectly, that the Bridsli ambassador in 
Berlin is not pleased vndi the 'zed' with sshichthe DjiIv Afail has followed the 
incepnon ana course of the reigning spell of Anglophobia in Germany. I have 
borne vividly m mind an injunction of youn. given in the midst of our walk 
through the grounds of SufTon Pbre last September, that tlic Daily Mai! 
rcprescnutivc in Berlin is not expected to get hit politial inspiration from I I’ls 
Majesty’s Embassy. I can readily understand wliv diplomats would prefer that 
«'e pay no attention to rhe press campa^ agamsr Lngiand tfur hat been so 
incessantly m progress here, but 1 have never bew able to reconcile their desires 
wnth my obligation to report glaringly edivtosn face. 

Nonhciifl'c compLuiiftl of ‘burning* e>-es and went to sec a speciahst. 
Andcnoii Cnchctt. who upset him by sucgestuig that he might have to 



NORTHClIFFE 

,tPor, Sunlight. For ™-ty-sevu„ y<^ 

of Is^ from St. John Harmsworth, whom he never saw 

“ utSi^E Ac news, NotthclJTe had at once cut Aort Ms buj^iuess trip in 

NoA Amlic. and tcmmed to be wiA bis “PP'''* ’'““S 
cate was a, teudet as a 

,in<;f Tnhn’sfoodmhoteldinine-roomsonthcittravclstogether.wr g 

to him, NotAcliSc had usually adAessed him as 'Dear ?°V ° 

‘My dearest Boy'. There was a reference to his fcelmgs m letter 
aui SatA Millet: T am so frightened you sviU forget 
have so muA to think of, and now added to your cares is your temb 
anxiety and loving care for dear Bonchic. 


Whether it was the spirit of Samuel Rogers still pervading 22 Sc- >'^« f. 
Place that inspired Northcliffe that autumn to start a regular Dm/y ^ 
supplement to be called ‘Boob* is a matter of conjecture. He had ahvgs 
inbted that boob should be given what he called a good show m m 
paper, which picked out new worb of htcrature for wview by msun 
gished critics of the day. His Utcrary supplement was *2 

authors and publishen but it did not succeed, probably because he had p 
Edmund Gosse in charge of it. Gosse wrote to him after six montfts. 
less depressed time of 5 e publishing trade, and when there ate 
ttactmg and depressing innuences abroad, 1 am sure that our expe 
would have had a commercial success. In younGcr hani^ than mm . 
may yet have.’ Gosse was followed by Archibdd Marshall, newsp P 
correspondent turned novelist, whose personal problems created o 
difficulties, and Ford Madox HuefFcr, another staff man, added to INotu 
cliffe’s maeasing boredom with the supplement. For him mere s 
always (hstractions at hand and he was giving attention just men to p 
curing the release of Colonel Arthur Lynch, who raised an Irish a 
to fight with the Boers and who was tiie list British sumect up 
time to be condemned for high treason. Lynch, a man of good mte > 
had worked on the Et’emn^ Neirr. While not condoning his miutary 
activities, Northcliffe continued to be a friend to him. He provide 
Lynch’s wnfe and children throughout his imprisonment. , , 

That autumn of 1906 Santos Dumont, whom Northcliffe 
flymg a dingible at Monte Carlo, nude the first recorded European g^ 
in a heavict-than-air machine, covering nvelve yards, following Jt wi 
another flight of two hundred and fifty yards. Northcliffe was an^ 
because his newpapers neglcaed what to him was an 
occurrence. A Scots suh-cditor, on late night duty, ‘afflicted, Nor 


300 



NO LONGER AN ISLAND 


work, unless free from all complications. Told him none of us can be cross- 
examined on motives of soap eases and that if I am examined should be obliged 
to tell truth and that therefore Sir G. L. [Sir George Lewis, solicitor] had from 
outset decided that I could not be put into box. Nor could, in mv view, he 
(K.J.I. 

The Dflily Mail and its associated newspapers had been attacking Levers’ 
proposed soap trust, NotthclifFe’s knowledge of America, and perhaps 
even more his friendship wth Theodore Roosevelt, the ‘trust buster’, had 
made him suspicious of trusts, in spite of his own rationalizing attitude to 
newspaper pubhsliing. He id not believe that such concentrations of in- 
dustrial and economic power were necessarily in the public interest and 
might be against it. A subjoined prejudice was his resentment of the in- 
creasing use of American capital in English undertakings, such as under- 
ground railways, shipping lines and tobacco companies. A bank failure in 
New York, followed by a Wall Street panic, had adversely affected the 
London markets. The bank rate rose to seven per cent. There was a slump 
in trade- Northdiffe was unfavourably disposed towards American finan- 
cial and business methods. ‘We already have t)ie tobacco trust operating 
here,’ he said. ‘WJicrc is it going to end?’ There was another rtison for 
objcctinc to the Lever amalgamations. They would reduce overheads and, 
inevitably, advertising expenditure. 

If levers were justified in improving their trading position, he was 
equally entitled to defend his interests. He launched the campaign with 
‘muck-raking’ enthusiasm. Leven were cheating the poor. They were 
using unsavoury substances in soap making. Their schemes would tltrow 
large numbers of people out of employment. They were cornering raw 
matenab. Tlic attacks, carried on My after day in the Daily Mail, tlic 
Evc}iii\q Neil’S au6 the Daily Aliwr, were conducted ‘in the public interest’ 
under headlines which punched home the Lever menace: 'Squeezing the 
Public’, ‘Cruel Blou' to the Poor’, ‘How Rftcen Ounces make a Pound’, 
‘Trust Soap Already Dearer’. Tl»c Daily Mirror cartoonist, W. K, Hascl- 
den, had fun swth ‘Port MoonsJiinc’ and readers sverc urged not to buy 
‘Sunhght’ soap. Les’cn’ sales fell sixty per cent. Their two million pre- 
ference shares dropped heavily. A Daily Mail front page heading told the 
nation; ‘Pubhc Opinion Smashed the Soap Tnur.’ 

Lever (later Lord Levcrhulme) went to his la^\ 7 Crs, who consulted 
F. E. Smith (later Lord Birkenhead). They asked for an immediate 
opinion. After a day’s hunting in Leicestershire, Smith sat up all night 
wth a mass of documents, a bottle of dumpagne and two dozen oysters, 
producing the result of lus cogitations by breakfast time. ‘There is no 
answer to this action for libel and the damages must be enormous.’ Tlicy 
proved to be the largest ever awarded by a British jury up to that time. 

The liugation draeged on ilirough many months, with Canon appear- 

50J 



NORTHCIIFEE 


W an operation and in the memwMe piesmbcd glasses. Anote 
medical consoltant, James Goodhatt, talked to hmi abont sleep. Take 
what sleep comes to you. Yon can do on fom and a half hours . ani 
was doubtless no logical consequence in the letter he received *e rat 


was douDtiess no logit-ai *** -- j 

^yfiouiMrsAUceStuattWordeja^gm^ 


'oor dear iNapoieoii . one ^ , 

encourage her desire •.o bring s^F*e^P“Pl 


elusiveness troubled otlier ardent hostesses. He disliked dinner parties an 
the affectations of formaHty. Also, he was not a gifted conversadonaU^ 
but an interesting talker who was apt to fall into long silences 
nouncing upon whatever topic was in the air. The author of Tie 
Curiiflt/oii and The Garden of Allah, Robert Hichens, who was almost a 
professional diner-out, said that he only once met Northclifie at dnm 
outside his own home. Then. ‘everybody wasamazed . Northcliftealso W 
a habit of excusing himself at the last minute from his wife s evening 
arrangements with the increasingly unconvincing explanation: I must g 
and put tlic paper to bed.’ ^ 

Through Pomeroy Button, the former New York IVcrjd news edito 
who had recently joined the Daily Mail as an executive with 
powers, anotlicr newcomer from America arrived that year on Nor 
clifFe’s personal staff, Alfred Butes, an Englishman who for some yea 
had been confidential secretary to Joseph Pulitzer, the New York new^ 
paper proprietor, who had made mm one of his trustees. Butes knew a 


PiSitzet’s private business and was practically irreplaceable in ^at rok. 
Pii^tTivr fnruav<* Nnrthcliffis for a defection which had in fact be 


Pulitzer never forgave Northcliffe for a defection which had in - 
onginatcd by Butes himself. He had begun hfe as a young reporter on e 
5 fliwtiiry & Winchester Journal and wanted to work in England , 

persistent frock-coat wearer with the solemn air of a Sunday Sc o 


ipenntcndcnt, he moved about his business with silent efficiency, ta 


care to contract no awkward alliances and consequently being regar e^ 
with distrust by those around him. The best secretary God ever ma c , 
was Northcliffe’s ultimate verdict. , 

Northcliffe was away from England for much of 1907. It was un 
stood in his offices that his eyes were in need of rest from the claman 
demands of the printed word; also, that tiie doctors had urged him to go 
slower for his general health’s sake. There was a still more pressing 
for his absence from London that summer. The Daily Mail an 1 
associated papers were being sued for Lbel by Lever Brothers, 
makers, and by a number of smaller firms in the industry. Northcu e 
sobcitor advised that he had better remain beyond the reacli of the process 
servers. He wrote a hurried undated note to Sutton from Paris: 


I urged K. J. to stop soap on score that I cannot carry increasing burden of 


30t2 



NO LONGER AN ISLAND 

cussing the eases with Carson some time afterwards, NorthcIifFe remarked: 
‘You’re the biggest enemy I ever had.’ Carson retorted: ‘Why didn’t you 
employ me, then? I daresay you’d have won.’ 

While tlic ultimate responsibility was his own, NorthclifTe appears to 
have pondered the position of his chief editor, Marlowe. A letter from 
H. W. Wilson, the Daily Mail chief leader writer, had a cause to plead: 
‘I do hope tliat you will do all you can for so faithful and devoted a 
servant as Marlowe. As I have known you so well, I feel sure you will be 
magnanimous, the more so as [ have received so many kindnesses from 
you, and know what you really arc. I quite agree with what you said, 
that the hbels must be stopped.’ For Maclowe it was a possibly anxious 
time. His political decisions bad not pleased NorthclifTe, who was parti- 
cularly crirical of a Daily Mail attack on Winston Churchill. Marlowe felt 
obliged to reply: 'I have carried on your paper, sometimes under circum- 
stances of great difficulty, for eight years and I have always endeavoured to 
cany out your svishes when I fcve been infonned of them. When I have 
not been so informed I have acted according to the best of my judgment 
and ability and I must have failed lamcntab^ if there is any justice in the 
criticisms you now make.' Mailowe suggested that NoiihcIifTc's osvn 
judgment had been prejudiced ‘by recent events’, presumably a reference 
to the soap case. 'I tl^k you have been a little depressed and ^s probably 
makes you fee! things more than you otherwise would.' 

It seems that Marlowe's tact hid grave doubts about NorthcIifTc's judg- 
ment. According to a letter written by Marlowe to a friend nearly twenty- 
five years after, lus faith in NorthclifTe had been severely shaken. He 
claimed from that distant standpoint: ‘NorthclifTe conducted that affair 
personally', meaning the campaign against Lever, 'and everybody con- 
cerned in it who published the things he told them, tab’ng their truth for 
granted, was badly let down’, ‘Afterwards’, Marlowe wrote, ‘it ^vas the 
rule among my staff that anything coming from him must be verified 
svith extra care.’ 

Harold Harmsworiii, more depressed than his brother and anxious 
about the balance sheet, urged that there must be economies: ‘Every ex- 
pense of the company should be cut dossm to the bone.’ He ran into 
trouble when he also urged that the cost of the law suits should come out 
of profits. There was a protest m the rutne of members of the staff at 
Carmelifc House. John Cowley, one of the dircaors, wrote to Nortli- 
cliffc; *The dcduaion of Soap expenses from die profirs svould mean, 
approximately, cutting in lulftheyear’sincomeofnearlyall the recipients 
under the profit-shanng arrangement.’ NortJicliffc came to the rescue by 
papng a considerable parr of the daimgcs out of his oum pocket. At 
CarmVlite Home, die inadow of the soap htigarioii lay heavily across the 
year. 

JOS 



NORTIICLim: 


ing for Lever (not for Nortbeliflfe, ^ llte Times official history states) and 
Rufus Isaacs (later the first Marquess of Reading) for the Daily ^fail. The 
reading public found it almost as enthralling as the celebrated Drucc case 
which came later m the year. At die opening trial, held at Liverpool 
Assizes in July 1907, the jury awarded liver Brothers Ltd. damages of 
j^jjo.ooo. Gloom settled hke a pall over Carmelite House when the news 
came through. Reporting the verdict, the Daily Afail said that ‘a some~ 
what embittered controversy’ had been entered on in ‘a no doubt mis- 
taken sense of public duty’. Tnidi got a laugh at Nottlicliffe’s expense by 
parodying a famous cartoon in which a tramp was seen writing a testi- 
monial to the makers of Pears’ Soap: ‘Six weeks ago I abiiseJ your soap, 
since when I have abused no other.’ 

By an extraordinary mischance, the Daily Afail solicitors and counsel 
<hd not ensure that the settlement terms marked on the brief were final. 
It left the Lever people free to issue a series of minor writs. As a friend of 
both parties, Sir Thomas Lipton, the tea mcrcliant, went to Lever tvith 
the suggestion: ‘Aren’t you pressing the Harmswotths a bit hards’ Lever 
demanded ^30,000 to dispose of the last of his actions. Lipton said that 
the Harmswotths might be wJlinc to pay /lo.ooo: ‘What do you say to 
thats’ Lever went to his desk and scribbled a note: ‘^40,000 and costs.’ 
Handing it to Lipton, he said ‘My last word’. ‘But you have already 
suggested thirty thousand,’ Lipton said, surprised. ‘You didn't agree, so 
it’s gone up’, said Lever laconically. Lipton went back to Northcliffe, 
whose answer was: ‘Very well. We’ll fight.’ Lever did not get Ids ,(^40,000. 
The jury awarded him jL500. ‘Frankly, the result was a great triumph for 
you. This i$ very private,' Lever’s counsel, F. E. Smith, wrote to Notth- 
cliffe. ‘None was more disgusted than 1 at another recliaiiffd. especially 
after the extraordinarily liberal offer your people made.’ Smith, familiarly 
known as ‘F.E.’, and Northchffc were secretly meeting through the later 
proceedings, which ‘F.E.’ had hoped to round off, he said, by ‘a final and 
friendly dinner’ with Northdiffc and Lever at the table. He wrote to 
NonhclifFc: ‘If you feel that you have plated yourself at any disadvantage 
by discussing the case intimately with me, I am quite willing to withdraw 
fromit — if youdon’t, I hope you will Ictus meet anyhow, for, God knows, 
there are many subjects of interest to discuss besides soap.’ He also asked 
Northdiffc to realize ‘that we lawyers are made for man and not man for 
us lawyers’ (April 19, 1909). Notes nude by NorthefifFe’s confidential 
seermry suggest that Smith waspatucularly anxious not to forfeit North- 
clifte’s good will and support in polirics. ‘He can help me greatly’, pre- 
sumably meaning Northciiffe. ‘L.\ presumably Lever, ‘of no use to me. 
I don t want his money. Would much tadier never have seen him.' 

Certain smaller firms had been encouraged by Lever’s example to 
follow suit, piling up damages and cojte to a total of ^ifi.oco. Dis- 


304 



NO LONGER AN ISLAND 

ctissing the cases with Carson some time afterwards, NortheiitFe remarked: 
'You’re the biggest enemy I ever had.’ Carson retorted: ‘Why didn't you 
employ me, then? I daresay you’d have won.’ 

While the ultimate rcsponsilality was his own, NorthclifFc appears to 
have pondered the position of his duef citor, Marlowe. A letter from 
H. W. Wilson, the Daily Mail chief leader writer, had a cause to plead: 
‘I do hope that you svill do all you can for so faithful and devoted a 
servant as Marlowe. As I have known you so well, I feel sure you will be 
magnanimous, the more so as I have received so many kindnesses from 
you, and know what you really arc. 1 quite agree with what you said, 
that the hbels must be stopped.’ For Marlowe it was a possibly anxious 
time. His political decisions had not pleased NotthclifTc, who was parti- 
cularly critical of a Daily Afail attack on Winston Churchill. Marlowe felt 
obliged to reply; ‘I have carried on your paper, sometimes under circum- 
stances of great difficulty, for eight years and I have always endeavoured to 
carry out your tvishes when I have been informed of them. When I have 
not been so informed I have acted according to the best of my judgment 
and ability and I must have failed lamentably if there is any justice in the 
criticisms you now make.’ Marlowe sugg«ted that Northcliffe’s own 
judpmcni had been prcjudjccd ‘by recent events’, presumably a reference 
to the soap case. 'I dunk you have been a little depressed and this probably 
makes you feel things more than you othenvise would.’ 

It seems that Marlow’c’s tact hid grave doubts about Nonhcliffc’s judg- 
ment, According to a letter written by Marlowe to a friendnearly rtventy- 
fivc years after, his faith in Nordicliffe had been severely shaken. He 
claimed from that distant standpoint; ‘Northcli/fc conducted that affair 
personally’, meaning the campaign against Lever, 'and everybody con- 
cerned in it who published the things he told them, taking their truth for 
granted, was badly let douii’. ‘Afrenvards’, Marlosvc wrote, ‘it was the 
rule among my staff that anything coming from him must be verified 
with extra care.’ 

Harold Harmsworth, more depressed than his brother and anxious 
about the balance sheer, urged that there must be economics; ‘Every ex- 
pense of the company should be cut dos\’n to the bone.’ He ran into 
trouble when he also urged that the cost of the law suits should come out 
of profits. Tlicre svas a protest in the name of members of the staff at 
Carmelite House. John Cosvley, osic of the directors, WTOtc to North- 
cliffc: TIjc deduction of Soap expenses from the profits would mean, 
approximately, cutting in halfthc year’s income of neatly all the rcdpicnts 
under the profit-sharing arrangement,* NonliclifTc came to the rescue by 
paj-ing a considerable part of the damages out of his own pocket. At 
Carmelite House, the shadow of the soap litigation lay heavily awoss the 
year. 

50s 



chapter Twelve 

Printing House Square 


The Henley House pupil who had written in the school magazine about 
the majesty of The Times had transmuted his patriotic glow into a recurring 
dream of ownership. In the year of his sutting the Daily AMh 1896, he 
had spoken to H. W. "Wilson of his resolve to become uie arbiter of the 
p«cr s power and fortunes. ‘He made no secret of it,' Wilson wrote, and 
often referred to it after 1900.’ 

In those first years of the new century there were many tumours that 
The Times was changing hands. Andrew Carnegie was named as one of 
the possible proprietors, so tvas Alfred Harmswortlt. As has been recorded, 
he made direct approaches to the Walter family who owned the paper. 
In X90d the rumours so strongly connected him with the paper's future 
that a new Liberal newspaper. The Tribune, was started with a view to 
rivalling The Times in quality and importance, it being confidently ex- 
pected that The Times would deteriorate under his hand. That dangerous 
fancy cost its backers more than £iSo,ooo in two years, by which tune 
The Tribune declined into being merely a background for a popular novel 
of newspaper life, The Street of Advertttire, by Philip Gibbs. 

The rumours were based on the known fact that The Times was in low 
water as a business concern, thou^ its reputation was still high in ine 
world. The story ofits rise &om modest beginnings as The Daily Universal 
Register of 1785 is traced in great detail and with complete authority in the 
History of The Times, written, printed and published at Printing House 
Square (1935-1952)- Its founder was John Walter, a prosperous coal 
merchant who had failed as an underwriter at Lloyd’s. It was called The 
Times from 1788. The second John Walter, who took the paper over in 
1803, was a man of cxcepdonal fame of character, courageous and in- 
dependent, contending against Pitt and his Government and standing out 
as an exemplary figure in an age of servility. By introducing steam pnnt- 

306 



PRINTING HOUSE SQUARE 

ing ke initiated revolutionary changes in newspaper production. He 
brought in two great editors, Thomas Barnes, 1817 to 1841, and John 
Thadeus Delane, 1841 to 1877. Bodi were exceptional journalists. Walter 
and they were powerfully united in a policy governed by one thought 
and rule, the national interest. Those dirce men made die world’s greatest 
newspaper. 

The pre-eminence they created bad lasted until the early 1880s. By 
dien, other newspapers werediaUenging Tft^ Times. The StaridarJ and the 
Daily Telegraph became serious competitors, while the Morning Post, 
nearest rival of The Times, dealt it a blow by dropping in price from 
threepence to 1 penny. Bad advice let the paper in for the long and 
extremely expensive Pamell Commission of 1888 and after, with resulting 
ill effects on its reputation. Gravely weakened, the paper did not respond 
to the introduction ofnew machinery or to the enterprise which exploited 
die then despised telephone as a means of quicker communication. The 
till at Printing House Square was often short of cash. In 1898, two 
American business men, Horace Hooper and W. M. Jackson, arranged 
that TTic Times should spomor the ninth edition of the Encyclopadia 
Britannka at a reduced price. It had been completed in 1889, and brought 
up to date by supplementary volumes. Pushed by The Times, what was 
known as the tenth edition sold well and, as the outcome of a sort of 
partnership with the two promoters, the paper received enough money 
to pay its bills through a critical period. Many old readers were em- 
barrassed by the transaction. One of them was Max Pemberton, who 
wrote: 

Well doItccoUect being suttled at eleven o'cloefcat night by atclegram which 
met me in a lonely part of SuffbUc. The reply to it was paid, and the messenger 
despatched by the local post ofScc believed that it was mightily urgent. I found 
in it an innmation that my last chance of obcainmg the Encychpt^ia Britannka 
expired at noon the following day. It was lignM ‘Manager of The Times, 
Printing House Square, London.’ Many thousands of these rdegrams had gone 
over the wires that night, scaring invalids in their beds, and the source of alarm 
to many innocent people. Not cwily this, but those who lived in remote districts 
often had to pay a heavy surcharge for the delivery of the far from exdring 
tidings. 

A more ambinous book-selling experiment embarked on in the paper's 
name in 1905 was a further shoi to the sensibilities of those to whom 
The Titiies was a sacred institution. Hooper and Jackson organized The 
Times Book Club, which offered its subs^bers at i8s. a year a daily 
copy of the paper and access to all the new books, with the right of pur- 
chase of any new book after a certain period. Soon what was known as 
'the book war' raged in London, with die Publishers’ Association, the 


307 



NORTHCUFFE 

■igiiSSSrrxiS—SS;" 

of The Tims, it rendered some service to the publishing t 
auio'ship. The press of 'carruge folk’ oumde ..s premrses at 93 Nesv 
Bond Street is still remembered by old sutabets. , • . 

Those extraneous activities vtere intended to restore the fin 

ins of Tk TUm. To some of the papers numcious ptopneton * y 
scLed not only infelidtous bnt positively injunous aids to recovery. M 
property, The Times had been drmded by the first bd 

dear-cut parts, the newspaper and the pmting works. The fir P 
been divided into sixteen shares, subdivided over the years int 
smaUer parts, each with unlinnted liabihty. The printmg busines • * ^ 

machinery and the freehold premises at Prmtnig House Sq”rd 
the property of the Walter dmdy. In t88s, there were a ''“nM m™ets 
of shares or parts of shares m the newspaper, sw* Arthur ^ 
appointed by Seed sole manager of 71 , r Times, receiving on beWi ol M 
fimily £32,000 a year, in good years and bad. In j „ 

amoiiitllad been as high as £80,000 a year, halved 
as printers and publishets, and the owners of The Tiiees share ; ,. 

18803 and 18903, while the Walten continued to draw their conside 
annuid income from printmg and publishing the paper, the *harwo 
received less and less for their interest in it, in some instances nogg- 
in 1906, Dt Knowsley Sibley, whose mother, Mrs Clara Sibley, 
been in touch with Al&cd Harmswotth in 1898, issued a %vTit j 

reigning Walter, asking leave to procure a full statement of 
a declaration that the property be transferred to a limited hahili^ c 
pany’ (History of The Times). Sibley was staundJy „ t 

Btoie-Hall, another of the sharcholden and a relative of the wal • 
was the beginning of a series of protests which the dissidents succee e 
working up into what was virtually an anti-Walter 
1907, the Chancery court ordered the dissolution of The Times pa 
ships and the disposal of the assets, property and effects of the newspap 
through a judge in chambers. 


One night in the latter part of 1907, the Northcliffes dined at the ho 
of Sir Alexander Henderson, a Gty financial expert who became 0 
Faringdon. He was an adviser of Pearson and a backer of his 
enterprises. There was fog, and NorthclifFc, always the unwillmg ^ 
out, asked his wife to make di^ excuses. When it was mentione t 



PRINTING HOUSE SQUARE 

Paderewski liad promised to play die piano after dinner, NorthdifFe 
changed his mind. There was talk ducmg evening about the impending 
amalgamation of two leading railway companies. ‘And’, it was remarked 
casually, ‘ The Times with The Standari' The Standard was one of Pearson’s 
papers and the remark was not lost on Northchlfc, Tvho telephoned his 
solicitor, Lewis, the first thing next morning. ‘Find out what you can,’ 
he said. Lewis went to Moberly Bell, the manager of The Times, who 
replied that he had heard nothing of the proposed amalgamation. North- 
clifFe would not let the matter rest there, Twdvc years later, writing to 
a member of The Times staff G. Murray Brumwell, Northclilfe re- 
called: ‘Lord Faringdon nearly became the Proprietor of The Times, 
and but for a chafFmg remark made to me by Lord Stuart of Wortley. 
he would have been die Proprietor.* 

Leaving for France, he charged Sutton to keep in close touch with 
Lewis. Sutton pursued his own line of inquiry and soon discovered that 
plans were well advanced for Pearson to take over The Times as part of a 
newspaper group which he was to control. The Times chief proprietor, 
Arthur Wdter, had been secretly negotiating with Pearson. Neither 
Moberly Bell, the manager, nor G. E. Buckle, the editor, had been taken 
into his confidence. Buckle to Arthur Walter Qanuary 6, 1908)*. Tt has 
been a shock to me, as the principal servant of the Paper, and your friend 
of nearly thirty years’ standing, that you should arrange to bring an out- 
sider into the heart of the ofGce . . . without consulting me.* 

A paragraph in The Observer on January 5, 1908, had told the world 
that ‘important negoriarions’ affecting the future of The Times might 
‘place the direction in the hands of a very capable proprietor of several 
popular magazines and newspapers’. It was rhe first intimation that 
workers on The Times had of coming change. Those who did not think 
that Northdilfe was the proprietor referred to were prepared to believe, 
none the less, that his was the hand that wrote the paragraph for tactical 
if not mischievous purposes. They were right. He admitted it in a message 
to The Times office exactly a year later.* It was largely with an intention 
of depriving him of any possible advantage, as well as of disposing of 
rumours, tfet on January 7 an announcement about the negotiations was 
given in The Times. ‘The business management will be reorganized by 
Mr C. Arthur Pearson, the proposed managing director.' The announce- 
ment was qualified by the proviso that court sanction might be required. 

Pearson at least was comident. Messages of congntuhdon conBcmed 
him in that state, none more so than one from Nordicliffe, who suggested 
that he be interviewed for the Daily Mail, C. Arthur Peanon to North- 
cliffe; 

• 'I put that pjtjgrjph in Tlie Ol'tfrvfr wlocb explcxletl the PcitKin tonspiraey.’ (The itilio were 
Nonhdjffe’j ) Juniury 4, 1909 


109 



NORTIK^ITC 


Ttif StJrdjfii, Lon Jon, E-C 

Jinuiry Ttli. ipoS. 

My dear NoftWjfTc, 

1 am vor)’ sorry to have refuseJ. but I believe vou will realise the position I am 
placcJ in. All tliii puWirin’ for roe n rubbinj; things in very much to far as the 
Walten are concemcJ, anJ from the point of their feelings 1 do not want to be 
seeming to putlj myself at all. Believe me, 1 verv roucli appreciate all tlut you 
have done, and I will be veiy glad, if you still ininlc it svotth while, to have a 
talk svifh iire D-iily Maii after 1 have b^ io The Times office a few da)t. . . . 


Northclific’s response took tlie form of an atticle about Peatson the 
following day. It quoted Chamberlain’s eulogy of Peatson as ‘a hustler*, 
a commendation unlikely to win llte lioris of the Tiws proprietors, its 
staff or its readen. 

It was on that same da)*, Jantur)* 8, that Sutton svTOte to Northclillc 
outKning the terms of the reorganization. Sutton’s letter did not suggest 
that Northcliffc was urgently concerned at that stage. 'If you thought any- 
thing of it, I could run over and tell you the whole business’, wluch does 
not support tlic Times historian’s smpheation of subtle manipulations by 
Northc^e from the beginning. Sutton had heard that some of the Times 
sKateholden would resist the proposed arrangements. It was on tint basis 
that he thought ‘the Chief' might be interested. 

An anidc inspired by Northcliffc in The Obseri-er on Jimury ja was 
likewise construed as an attempt to undermine confidence in Pearson. 
‘MrPearson is still young; he is alittle over forty. . , . Helm done strong 
as svcll as sensational tilings.’ He was congratulated on his business acumen. 
'Mr Pearson has the opportunity of his life and it is esidcn tly quite baseless 
CO imagine he u-ill set mmself to fail in the most obvious of all wzys by 
plapng it too low.’ Kennedy ^ones put it on reconI that the ardde 
sincerely represented Northcliffc s views. 'It was not a bhnd to enable him 
to get behind a rival, as it has been often and most unfairly asserted* 
{Fleet Street and Dmi-rn'ti^ Street, 1920). Alfred Butes, the confidential 
seactary, was with Northcliffc at the Pavilion Hotel, Folkestone, stajing 
overnight on their way to France. Duies said that they spent the evening 
'writing out a long and amusing article' about the competition for The 
Times, ‘It was a piece of camouflage, a smoke-screen for Northcliffc him- 
self.’ The article was sent by trrin to Sutton in London early the next 
morning, with instrucrions that he should deliver it personally to Garvin, 
for the following Sunday* Ohserrer, ‘Where did this come fromt’ Garvin 
asked Sutton. Sutton answered: ‘It blew in the window,* 

Kennedy Jones WTotc that he had considered ways and means of gaining 
control of TIjc Times for his own purposes. He discussed them (according 
to his account) with Lord Curzon, to whom he proposed the editorship. 
Curzon declined, whereupon Jones telegraphed to Northcliffe in France: 

310 



PRINTING HOUSE SQUARE 

Are you prepared to come into a deal which will upset tiegotialhrts eventually 
acquiring business ourselves? Profits on paper have for eight years never been 
below thirty thousand scheme would require thee fifty thousand . . . would have 
to he carried through by some big man or syndicate who would save organization 
for Empire Sutton can start tonight. 

Pearson was busily making his dispositions. He had ordered his head 
printer to ‘take over’ at Printing House Square by a given date and was 
forming a general staff to assist him in his task of rejuvenating the greatest 
of all newspapers by incorporating it with The Standard. There is a sur- 
viving memory of a dinner to mark his inmending arrival in Printing 
House Square. The Savoy Hotel chef reproduced the Times clock in ice 
as a table centrepiece. It was a singularly ironic symbol of Pearson's hopes, 
ibr the manager of The Times, C. F. Mobccly Bell, was secretly engaged 
in a transaction which would bring them to nothing. 

Moberly Bell’s loyalty to The Times was as fiercely exacting of himself 
as of those around him. In his devotion to the paper he was wholehearted 
and selfless. He was never in fevour of Pcanon as controller and energetic- 
ally applied himself to obstructing that possibility when it was made 
obvious that there would be no place for him in tne Pearson hierarchy. 
He had good cause for resentment at the governing proprietor’s action in 
publishing the notice of January 7. It virtiuily deprived him of his public 
standing as the Times manager. When Harcoiut Kitchin, of the city 
office, asked him: ‘What are you going to do about this Pearson business?’ 
Bell replied: ‘Smash it.’ 

Bell's personality dominated the transformation scene in negotiations 
which now seem to have cont^ed a number of pantomime effects. 
Limping slightly from an old accident, he looked ^e a professional 
conspirator who had no need to wear a cloak. The illusion owed some- 
thing to his powerfully curved nose and pictdng eyes set in a sallow com- 
plexion which some people wrongly ascribed to eastern origins. He was 
bom in Egypt of English parentage and environment had counterfeited 
heredity. He was a man of energy and gusto who contrived to make his 
most trivial acts seem significant. Roused to indignation, especially over a 
moral issue, he could be formidable. He worked long hours, never took a 
holiday, and never seemed fired. Like others on the Times staff, he re- 
tained a touch of the amateur and it did not endear him to men like 
Northcliffe and Kennedy Jones that he hated the telephone, despised 
secreurial help and wrote ms letters by hand. 

In 1908 he conceived it to be his supreme duty to save The Times and 
not frona Pearson alone. There were reasons for beheving that alien in- 
terests were lurking m the wings. An American syndicate was supposed 
to be putting on pressure. The Aadow of oasmopoUtan finance fell across 
the stage. Bell let Wickham Stwd, The Times correspondent in Vienna, 



NORTHCUFFE 

know that a gtoup, ‘supported by Britons of the name of Koch and 
Speyer’, were seeking to gain control. Steed’s reply was a footnote to 
later European history; 

1 fear Speyer and Koch. Even if they have no direct commission from the 
German Government, they are German Jews, and five years’ expericnw here 
has taught me one ilsing; for some unexplained reason, interest, clannislmcss, 
unconscious linguistic or racial finiridsm, every Jew in this par: of the world is 
a strong pro-German who looks towards Bcrlm as tlic Mussclman towards 
Mecca. I have studied them, high and low, rich and poor, learned and ignorant 
— in their heart of hcatis they arc pro-German to a man. 

Steed felt so strongly that he proposed, ‘as an extreme resource’, that the 
staff should revolt or strike ‘in case of purchase by the Speyer’s or by the 
Sibley-Pearson gang*. Nortlicliffc told Ellis Powell, a financial journalist; 
‘Emil Koch svas not the only foreigner who made us fearful’, and ttvclve 
months afterwards he let it be known in a message to the Tintes office 
that Koch was ‘one of those who negotbted for The Tiiites on behalf of 
the Japanese Government’. Meanwhile, Bell canic ro the conclusion that 
the great tiring was to save The Timet from the Walters. 

He had not been immediately ready and willing to work with Nortli- 
clifFc. He tried to find more congenial backing, but he had no gift for Wgh 
finance and little understanding of the subtler ramifications of business 
thought. In his dilemma, he ‘hit upon one expedient to help him to a 
decision', his daughter wrote (Tlic L/e and Letfers of Moherly Bell, 

He made a list in alphabetical order of all the prominent people known to 
possess suffiaent wealth to be possible purchasers of The Times, and submined 
It to Lord Cromer, to some of the Rothschilds, and to various other of his 
acquaintances whose judgement he trusted, asking them to cross off the names 
of any to whose connexion with TTie Timer they would take serious exception. 
No one crossed off Northcliffe’s name. 

He had met Northcliffe two or three times, ‘on pleasant terms’, he 
recalled in a letter to Northcliffe, Now they were in touch again, brought 
together by Horace Hooper. Thrir opening mterview in the negotiations 
took place at 38 Sackville Street, Piccadilly, where Northcliffe had taken 
offices for his private accountant, T. E. Mackenzie. Butes was there to 
receive Bell, who, he said, greeted Northcliffe bluntly. Butes then left 
them together. Mr Bell, Northcliffe said, with equal bluntness, ‘I am 
going to buy The Times. Wiffi your help, if you will give it to me. In 
spite of you, if you don’t,’ Mobcrly Bdl answered; ‘I will help you.’ The 
interview was brief. Thereafter, the matter was carried along by Kennedy 
Jones, Sutton, Bell and by Nordicliffe’s solicitor, WilUam Graham. A 


312 



PRINTING HOUSE SQUARE 

secret code of communication was agreed on. NorthcIifFc was ^Atlantic*, 
Bell ‘Canton’, Kcimedy Jones became ‘Alberta’ and Sutton 'Buffalo’. The 
name of Pearson was clunged to Dawson in letters and telegrams. 

Northcliffe conducted his side ofdie preliminary negotiations from the 
Hotel Crystal-Bristol, Boulogne, where he stayed under another name. 
Butes said that much of liis time, over several weeks, was passed in coding 
and decoding telegrams. Northcliffc put it about that he was in the South 
of France, taking a rest cure. There was no sign of his adopting the 
Napoleonic stance, gazing with brooding eyes across the Channel and 
planning the invasion of Printing House Square. Bell, too, enjoyed using 
the apparatus of mystification, later, he was delighted to tell others that 
vital messages at that time were passed to him by his wife in Arabic. In 
his years at The Times, he had always worked in his office with the door 
open. Now, for the first time, it was dosed. 

Fortified by Northcliffe’s power, he had gone to the governing Walter 
with the information that he had succeeded in finding a more suitable 
backer than Pearson but could not for the time being disclose his name. 
Arthur ‘Walter, harassed beyond his powers of resistance, accepted a 
Situation which a stronger man would not have tolerated, He agreed to 
wait on Bell’s deliberations, content with Bell's assurance: ‘I am acting 
solely in what I believe to be the best interests of The Times' Buckle, the 
editor, was still guessing. He believed that Hooper and Jackson, the 
Americans, were behind Bell, and he told Bell that it was a combuution 
which he did not like. In (act, it was Hooper who in an introductory sense 
was behind Northcliffc. He had been in private talks with Kennedy Jones 
and had urged on Bell the advisability of working with NorthcIifFc. 

New names gave life to the rumours — Lord Straihcona, Lord Brassey, 
Sir Hugh Bell, the Rothschilds, Lord Swaydding, Lord Iveagh and also 
Sir George Newncs, who promptly dispelled any idea that he was in- 
terested. NorthcIifFc himself had considered a scheme which would give 
Pearson the managing directorship 'under our guidance’, telling Sutton; 
‘The Mail is in my judgment a very much greater power than The Times 
will ever be and we can make jt an infinitely greater thing than it is.’ 
Concluding his survey of the posiuon as he saw it in the first days of the 
new year, he advised Jon« and Sutton {January 9, 1908): ‘Do not allow 
yourselves, cither of you, to be carried avray by zeal. Personally, as I told 
you here when you spoke to me two months ago, I am content with what 
We, bive. YouIwe abo to renwrobes t.batan.ytKvng eitbet of you. does vrill 
be ascribed to me. Walk warily.* Lord Esher, at 2 Tilncy Street, Park 
Lane, made a diary note that wedc, after dining one night with John 
Morley at the Ritz: ‘He told me a good thing of Lord Northcliffe. Some- 
one, Donald, of the Daily Chronicle, I think, was saying how he proposed 
to run his paper on sound lines, no modem journalism, but good solid 


313 



NORTHCUFFE 

stuff, etc. “Yes,” said N., "and, my dear fellow, wlty not print it in 

°°[tLTBell, writing to Nortkdtffc onjanuaty 29, ““"‘f 
change’ in Walter’s attitude to him, showing aimiety to gc 
Pcanon agreement, and saying to Bell: Directly it is upsc , . , ,, j] 

von Of course, I guess who it is, butl’mnot going to >ay “ything. Bell 
Isked Northcliffe where he could see him for a talk. Couldn t go o 
suburb and you pick me up m a motot-ot -mil I w 

Nicodemus by night!’ He was able to report: I see no signs b 

shadowed yet.’ Harcoutt Kitchiii. who saw Bell frequently at ^ 

wrote that 'he entered so thorongbly into the spmt of the game an 
enjoyed every minute of it so wbolehcartdly . - .n , be was ore- 

NoithcUffe himself entered so fir into the spirit of it >1'"' “ 
pared to mystify Bell. He came over to London on » 

Without telLg BeU. Having an easy adaptabibty to domestic circu 
stances, he stayed the night widi the Suttom at ^ ,0 

and, on a second trip, at Bates’s flat. Bell wrote to him be 

stressing the ’secrecy’ and ‘mystery’, md asking for mote ““w “ , 
added to their private code: Caesar — General Sterling, a g 
Times shareholder, and 'NapIcs’-WiUiatn Sharp, sohcitor, ° 

Miss Brodie Hall. Bell wrote a letter to Sharp wbicb had an impotta 
bearing on the paramount issue of who would finally direct th 1 
of the newspaper. It was dated January 30, it>08. 

Dear Mr Sharp, -Except that this Utter, thou|h wtitlen on ‘Em 

only the expression of my personal views and not as Manager ot i 
there is nothing in it which is private— to any one of the Proprietors. 

The position is briefly this. The Times b a great national institution, t a 
foremost. 1 have given the last 18 years of my life wholly to its interest 
at any time during that period I could have furthered those mtcrcsts y Y 
retitement, 1 should have made the saaificc without 
without regret. Compared to tliat big national interest, the claims ot tiie 
the Brodic Halls, the Sibleys or the Bells are not worth consideration. 

I find those interests endangered by a deplorable Agreement wi 
Pearson. If that agreement, or any other agreement, had been bnie 
The Times, I should have welcomed it, though it meant loss to all tn 
interests 1 have mentioned, including ray own. , , it 

Because I know it spells disaster to the interests of The I OPP , 

openly and avowedly. The fact that it b not beneficial even to the Walt - , 

BrodieHall$,theSibleysandtheBellsbacoincidencenotafFectmgmya • 

The extent of the disaster caused by that Agreement no one can ju S 
myself. 1 put It very moderately when I say that if on the 1st of January 
year The Times was worth £300.000, today it is not worth £200,000. 

The great immediate question, Bdl went on to assert, was aster 

could be avoided. ‘If the only remedy possible involved the rum ot a 


314 



PRINTING HOUSE SQUARE 

other interests I have mentioned, I would cheerfully support it,’ He in- 
formed Sharp that he had 'been able to formulate’ a scheme that would 
benefit all the proprietors in a way that none of the other schemes put 
forward could do. ‘My scheme gives the present proprietors the first 
charge on all the assets, so that in the event of failure they remain the 
proprietors.’ The eather schemes gave fint charge to those who found the 
cash. Still more imporunt, Bell’s plan stipulated that the whole political 
direction of the paper should remain in die hands of the existing staff and 
that the editorial side should be conducted on the same lines as before. 
Bell put it to Sharp: 

If you and your clients have really at heart the continued existctice of The 
Times, let me beg you to use your influence to put an end to these undignified 
squabbles between one section and another of the proprietors. If their object is 
simply and purely nothing but s. d.. I cannot do more than tell them that 
every week that their quarrel is prolonged is cosdng them more than the most 
efficient management could replace in j months. It is no exaggeration to say 
that it will take 3 years to recover the damage done in the last p months. 

Let them sink their personal grievances — which 1 admit exist — and unite for 
the 6(g interest, which happens to be their own. 

The soLdtor replied on January 31, acknowledging Bell’s ‘admirable 
letter’, and undertaking to try to 'bring about an early end of all the 
htieation’, subject to Bell’s readiness to supply proofs of his statemems. 
Bell retorted tliat there was no statement that he could not prove, ‘except 
of course those that refer to the future. Time will prove those.’ To attain 
a final solution, he declared, T would sacrifice everything that I have.’ 
His sincerity helped to bring about the unanimity indispensable to the 
negotiations at that point. It had been hardly less efFicadous in his dealings 
with ‘X', Bell’s private pseudonym for Northcl^e, who already knew him 
for a man of principle. On February 9, Bell secured a written understand- 
ing to act as managing director of The Tintes for five years in the event 
of Northchffe becommg the new governing proprietor. In the letter 
covermg the arrangement Bell undertook to carry out Northdiffe’s 
absolute instructions’, on the assumption ‘that the present policy of the 
paper in Home & Foreign affairs should be contmued under die editorslup 
of Mr Buckle and Mr Valendne Chitol’, head of the foreign department. 
Bell had not lightly signed away authority to Northcliffe. But North- 
cliffe, through Sutton, made it dear dial he would withdraw from the 
ftc^oriarions unless such an undertiting svas given. BcU was faced with 
the danger that Peanon might come forward again and so he signed. 

On February 20, solicitors issued a letter on behalf of Dr Sibley and his 
fellow dissenters. ‘If anyone desired to make a proposal for the purchase 
of The Times and will send the proposal to us. it svill duly be brought 
before tlic judge.’ The Daily ChronUle referred to the announcement as 


315 



NORTHCUFEE 


stuff", etc. “Yes,” said N., “and, my dear fellow, why not print it in 
Gothic type?” ’ 

Mobcrly Bell, writing to Northdiffc on January 29, recorded a singular 
change in Walter’s attitude to him, showing anxiety to get out of the 
Pearson agreement, and saying to Bell; ‘Directly it is upset I shall come to 
you. Of course, I guess who it is, hut I'm not going to say anything. Bell 
asked Northcliffe whcrehc could see him for a talk. ‘Couldn’t I go to some 
suburb and you pick me up m a motor — or will I come to you like 
Nicodemus by night!’ He was able to report: ‘I see no signs of being 
shadowed yet.’ Harcourt Kilchin, who saw Bell frequently at that Umc, 
wrote that ‘he entered so thoroughly into the spirit of the game and 
enjoyed every minute of it so wholeheartedly’. 

Northchffc himself entered so far into the spirit of it that he was pr^ 
pared to mystify Bell. He came over to London on a secret flying visit 
without telling Bell. Having an easy adaptability to domestic dreum* 
stances, he stayed the night with the Suttons at their Bcisizc Park villa 
and, on a second trip, at Butes’s flat. Bell wrote to him on January 30, 
stressing the ‘secrecy’ and ‘mystery’, and asking for more names to be 
added to their private code: ‘Caesar’ — Gener^ Sterling, a belligcrmt 
Times shareholder, and ‘Naples’-— William Sharp, solicitor, acting for 
Miss Brodic Hall. Dell wrote a letter to Sharp wmdt had an important 
hearing on the paramount issue of who would finally direct the destiny 
of the newspaper. It was dated January 30, ipoS. 

Dear Mr Sharp,— Except that this lerter, though svritten on official paper, 
only the expression of my personal views and no: as Manager of Tlie Times, 
there is notmg in it which is private — to any one of the Proprietors. 

Tlic position is briefly this. The Times is a great national institution, fust and 
foremost. 1 have given the last 18 years of my life wliolly to its interests and if 
at any time during that period i could have furthered those interests by my 
retirement, I should have made the sacrifice witliout hesitation though not 
without regret. Compared to tlut big national interest, the claims of the Walters 
the Dtodic Halls, the Sibleys or the Dells arc not worth consideration. 

I find those interests endangered by a deplorable Agreement wth a Mr 
Pearson. If that acreement, or any oUict agreement, had been beneficial to 
Tlie Times, I should have welcomed it. though it meajit loss to all those other 
interests I have mentioned, induding my own. 

Because I know it spells disaster to the interests of The Times, I oppose it 
openly and avowedly. The fan that it b not beneficial even to the Walters, the 
Drodie Halls, the Sibleys and the Dells is a coincidence not affecting my attitude. 

The extent of die diustcr caused by that Agreement no one can judge bat 
myself 1 put It very moderately when I say that if on the ist of January of this 
year The Timrs was worth £jwoo, today it is not worth 200,000. 

The great imrnedUte question. Bell went on to assert, was how disaster 
could be avoided. If the only remedy possible involved the ruin of all the 



PRINTING HOUSE SQUARE 

other interests I have mentioned, J would cheerfully support it.’ He in- 
formed Sharp that he had ‘been able to formulate’ a scheme that would 
benefit all the proprietors in a way that none of the other schemes put 
forward could do. ‘My scheme gives the present proprietors the first 
charge on all the assets, so drat in die event of failure they remain the 
proprietors.’ The earlier schemes gave first charge to those who found the 
cash. Still more important, Bell’s plan stipulated that the whole political 
direction of the paper should remain in the hands of the existing staff and 
that the editorial side should be conducted on the same lines as before. 
Bell put it to Sharp: 

If you and your clients have really at heart the continued existence of The 
Times, let me beg you to use your influence to put an end to these undignified 
squabbles between one section and another of the proprietors. If their object is 
simply and purely nothing but /j. s. d., I cannot do more than tell them that 
every week that their quarrel is prolonged is costing them more than the most 
efficient management could repbcc in 3 months. It is no exaggeration to say 
that it will take 3 years to recover the damage done in tlie last p months. 

Let them sink their personal grievances — which 1 admit exist — and unite for 
the hig interest, which happens to be their own. 

The solicitor replied on January 31, acknowledging Bell’s ‘admirable 
letter’, and undertaking to try to ‘bring about an early end of all the 
UtiMtion’, subject to Bell’s readiness to supply proofs of his statements. 
BeU retorted that there was no statement that he could not prove, ‘except 
of course those that refer to the future. Time will prove those.’ To attain 
a final solution, he declared, ‘I would sacrifice everything that I have.’ 
His sincerity helped to bring about the unanimity indispensable to the 
negotiations at that point. It had been hardly less efficacious in his dealings 
with ‘X’, Bell’s private pseudonym for NorthcIifTc, who already knew him 
for a man of principle. On February 9, Bell secured a written understand- 
ing to act as managing director of The Times for five years in die event 
of Nonheliffe becoming the new governing proprietor. In the letter 
covermg the arrangement Bell undertook to carry out Northcliffe’s 
‘absolute instructions’, on the assumption ‘that the present policy of die 
paper in Home & Foreign affairs sbomd be continued under the emtorship 
of Mr Buckle and Mr Valentine Chirol’, head of the foreign department. 
Bell had not lightly signed away authority to Northcliffe. But North- 
cliffc, through Sutton, made it clear dut he would withdraw from the 
negotiations unless such an undertaku^ was given. Bell was faced with 
the danger that Pearson might come forward again and so he signed. 

On February 20, sohcitors issued a letter on behalf of Dr Sibley and his 
fellow dissenters. ‘If anyone desired to make a proposal for the purchase 
of The Times and will send the proposal » us, it will duly be brought 
before the judge.’ The D<i//y Chnmkie referred to the announcement as 


315 



NORTHCUFFE 

Stuff, etc. “Yes,” said N., “and, my dear fellow, why not print it m 

Gothic type?” ’ j j • ■ „„l,r 

Moberly Bell, writing to Northdiffe on January 29. recorded a sin|<wr 
change’ in Walter’s attitude to him, showing anxiety to get out ot tne 
Pearson agreement, and saying to Bell: ‘Dire< 5 y it is upset I shaU come 
YOU. Of course, I guess who it is, but I’m not going to say anything. iJeii 

askedNorthcliffewherche could see him for a talk. Couldn 1 1 go to some 

suburb and you pick me up in a motor— ot will I come to you e 
Nicodemus by night!’ He was able to report: ‘I sec no signs ot bemg 
shadowed yet.’ Harcourt Kitchin, who saw Bell frequently at that ume. 
wrote that ‘he entered so thoroughly into the spirit of the game an 
enjoyed every minute of it so wholeheartedly’. 

Northdiffe himself entered so far into the spirit of it that he was pr^ 
pared to mystify Bell. He came over to London on a secret flying visi 
without telling Bell. Having an easy adaptability to domestic 
stances, he stayed the rught with the Suttons at their Belsize Park v 
and, on a second trip, at Butes’s fiat. Bell wrote to him on January 30 > 
stressing the 'secrecy and ‘mystery’, and asking for more naniM to e 
added to their private code: ‘Caesar’ — Gencrd Sterliiig, a belhgercn 
Times shareholder, and ‘Naples’ — William Sharp, solicitor, acting W 
Miss Brodic Hall. Dell wrote a letter to Sharp which had an 
bearing on the paramount issue of who would finally direct the destiny 
of the newspaper. It was dated January 30, 1908. 

Dear Mr Sharp, — Except that this letter, though written on ** 

only the expression of my personal views and not as Managerof The iM 1 
there is nothing in it which is private — to any one of the Proprietors. 

Tiic position is briefly this. The Times is a great national institution, first an 
foremost. I have given the last 18 years of my life wholly to its interests an 1 
at any time during that period I could have furthered those interests by my 
retirement, I should have made the sacrifice without hesitation thoagh no 
without regret. Compared to that big national interest, the claims ofthe W a cr 
the Brodie Halls, the Sibleys or tbc Bells arc not worth consideration. 

I find those interests endangered by a deplorable Agreement with a t 
Pearson. If that agreement, or any other agreement, had been benefiaa o 
Tfie Times, I shoidd have welcomed it, though it meant loss to all those ot cr 
interests I have mentioned, including my own. 

Because I know it spells disaster to the interests of T 7 ie Timer, 1 oppose it 
openly and avowedly. The fact that it is not beneficial even to the Walters, t c 
Brodic Halls, the Sibleys and the Bells is a coincidence not affecting my 
The extent of the disaster caused by that Agreement no one can judge but 
myself. I put it very moderately when I say that if on the Jst of January of this 
year The Times was worth ;03OO,ooo, tod^ it is not worth ^200,000. 

The great immediate question, Bell went on to assert, was how disaster 
could be avoided. ‘If the only remedy possible involved the ruin of all tlie 



PRINTING HOUSE SQUARE 

the comment; ‘What can one do with such idiots!’ The next day, 
March 13, he telegraphed to Northdiffe through Bates: Hauc effectually 
prevented further leakage have got him siffely away. For Bell, it had been a 
bad time. He was disinterested in motive But his career was in the balance. 
He had been deeply disturbed. He continued to put the paper first. He 
asked Bates to tell Nordicliffc on March 13: ‘I want you m no way to 
consider me. Whatever the result, you have treated me generously and 
as squarely as I have treated you. I only regret that I had to deal with 
such a hopeless fool on the other side,’ 

The devious course of the bargaining for The Times is followed with 
exactitude in the official history, which with curious obtusencss refers to 
Northdiffe throughout the negotiations as Harmsworth. Sutton reported 
to Northdiffe on March 1 5 that the previous day Pearson had told Hooper 
at lunch that he had 'found out in time to get out’, the crucial discovery 
being that 'the finance of Tifce Times was too unsatisfactory'. Sutton added; 
‘There have been many suggestions as to the osvnersnip, but Alberta 
[‘K.J.’] and I have been busy spreading the Rothschild version.' At 
Sutton’s club, the Devonshire, it was confidently being said tliat the new 
owner was NorihclifTc, and Sutton affirmed: ‘I tliink I have been useful 
there.’ Garvin had told him; ‘There is a strong impression at Printing 
House Square that ic is Northchffe.’ 


The small green japanned deed-box which went ever)^vhere with him 
was full of letters to be answered. Henry Klein, retired music publisher, 
wrote; 

The Bays, 

Burwood Park Road, 
Walton-on-Thames. 

8th March, 1908. 

My dear Lord Alfred,— Some time ago you asked me if I had any carlywritinp 
of yours. Looking through old letters, it seems to me like yesterday, so vividly 
arc those scenes before my mind— what happy times thev were on the Holborn 
Viaduct when you came to see me every day. I temember when you brought 
me the first proof of ‘Answers To Correspondents’ to read, and the first ‘Puzzle,' 
which we tried while at lunch next door (Spien & Pond’s). 

What a %Qad feieod you have been to me! What and svhere would I be 
without you! 

If you have a late likeness of yours to spare, I shoidd $0 much like to iuve one. 
I have only the one with the terrier. 

God bless you, dearest friend, with the best of health and contentment. 

Your aflectionatcly grateful 
HENRY KLEIN 


3*7 



PRINTING HOUSE SQUABS 

lifFe's signature. NorthcUfFe peeped durough the keyhole of Bell’s bed- 
'oom at the hotel. ‘He was lying &st asleep, worn out with his journey 
'^nd industry/ He had left London at 9 p.m., crossed to Paris, arriving at 
' a.m. He had slept till 10 a.m. and then worked with Northenfle 
night, leaving for London at 9 p.in. Reaching Victoria station at 

o’clock tile next morning, he went straight to the Times office and 
^vorked until 7 p.m. He was sixty-two. He telegraphed from London to 
r'Jorthcliffe at Versailles late m the afternoon of March 16, 1908: Gone 
through as we wanted. It was the end of the struggle for The Times. North- 
:chffe had won. It would prove to be a Pyrrhic victory. 

' Hie purchase price for the copyright of the newspaper and its allied 
publications was sanctioned by the judge at ^320,000. To enable Bell to 
pay the full amount into court if required, Noith<diffc placed cash to that 
value at the Bank of England m Bell’s name. It was a superb gesture of 
confidence in Bell. ‘I could go down with a sack, draw all that money out, 
,ind bolt with it,’ Kc told fotchin. His face glowing, he paid his tribute 
.to Northcliffe: ‘A splendid fellow! He insisted on depositing the money 
;n my sole name.’ NorthcUfFe afterwards explained that action. T wanted 
,to show old BeU that I, at any rate, believed in him. He had made aU 
sorts of conditions for The Times and for the sufT, yet made no condition 
for himself. So I decided to hand the purchase money over to him. It was 
the least that I could do.' He told his solicitor, William Graham: ‘Moberly 
Bell could easily have got the capital elsewhere.’ When the deed was 
signed, Bell remarked co Northclme: T don’t know how you svill make it 
succeed, but I am sure you will.’ 

Northcliffe told his mother: ‘i6ih March, 1908.— I could not wire you 
that I have been successful in the matter that lus engaged me so long and 
kept me abroad so much, as the Post Office is the sure way of reveal- 
ing secrets; but I have just received a telegram saying so. I shall try to 
make my work worthy of you, my dear, but it is a secret’ Adelaide of 
pemerara (Hooper and Jackson) to Atlantic (Northcliffe): 'Monday even- 
ing, March 16, 1908. — Not only the British public, but all friends of 
Great Britain will some day know what a great good you have done for 
the nation.’ Arthur Walter wrote Co Bell same day; ‘Your telegram 
caused me great relief. I trust we shall have peace now.’ Lady Nortbchffc 
to Sutton: ‘Tuesday [undated].— Hooray! I am glad— and I know you are 
loo— glad that the strain is over. The Chief has been a perfect brick and 
home the suspense wonderfully. It has been dreadfully trying for him 
being exiled while the fight was going on. It is so right that he should 
have this thing he is the only person in the world who could run it!' 

Bell’s desk was piled witli telegrams and letters of appreciation and 
, congratulatir ''rom The Times well-wishers at home and abroad. To 
; some of tf ; was the St. George of Fleet Street and Pearson the 


NORTHCtUTE 


Rufus Isaacs was importuning him again on bclialfofhis sister; She 
is very anxious to do some editorial work for you.’ The vicar of St. 
Saviour’s Poplar, to whose yearly stipend Norrhchlfc contributed ^50, 
inqmred when he might expect the next instalment. Robert Donald, 
editor of the Daily Chroniele, apologized for publishing comments on 
the peerage, about which Northcliffc had complained. Tlicre was cor- 
respondence to be dealt with regarding the possibilities of tlic sands at 
Skegness as a scene of aeroplane trials. Gaston Mayer, director of the 
Theatre Fran^aisc at the New Royalty Theatre, London, regretted that his 
experiment there had failed, in spite of ‘yo^^ lordship's personal and 
generous support’, which cost Norihclilfo several hundred pounds. Frank 
Millar, Glendowcr, Chistvick Lane, London, W., alleged anti-Catholic 
bias in the Childrens EncycloparJia. Ford, the Kilbum printer of the Henley 
House School Magazine, \vas in ditc distress and begging for help. L. J. 
Maxse, editor of the National Review, deplored Notthcliffe’s absence from 
the country 'as a real national calanucy’, at a time when the First Lord of 
the Admi^ty, Tweedmouth, was ofcscquiously corresponding svith the 
Kaiser about the Royal Navy, it is the greatest outrage that has happened 
in our time. I did not know where to communicate with you and felt 
quite helpless,’ 

Northcliffe to his mother: 


Versailles. 

14th March, 1908. 

Darling Mumlo,— We are still condnuinc out vagabondage and at present are 
at the Hotel des Reservoirs, where you and I lunclied and where I should very 
much like to stay with you some time this year. I can imagine nothing more 
happy than that we two should he wandering about the Park and Palace. 

JExactly when we shall return depends upon events with which I $h^ 
acquaint you and of which you know the purport. So far those affairs go well, 
though there have been, already, rumours of indiscreet talk on the part of the 
members of our family — who certrinly know nothing. The very appearance of 
your firstborn on the scene in a struggle of this kind brings in others. ‘What is 
good enough for Lord N.,’ they say, ‘is good enough for us.’ 

We may move away from here on Tuesday. All depends on events as I have 
said. We are most anxious that if the thing is accomplished it shall not be known 
for several years, until we have had time to demonstrate that we are not so 
erratic as our enemies suppose. 

1 hope all is well atPoynters. Ishallbevcryglad when lamable to relinquish 
the life of an exile. 

Your devoted 
HRSTBORN 

Bell had himself taken the draft sale contract to Versailles for North- 

318 



PRINTING HOUSE SQUARE 

cUffe’s signature. Notthcliffe peq)ed ditougb the keyhole of Bell’s bed- 
room at the hotel. ‘He was lying fast asleep, worn out with his journey 
and industry.’ He had left London at 9 p.m., crossed to Paris, arriving at 
S a.m. He had slept till 10 a.m. and had then worked with Northdifre 
until night, leaving for London at 9 p.m. Reaching Victoria station at 
5 o’clock the next morning, he went straight to the Times office and 
worked until 7 p.m. He was sisty-two. He telegraphed from London to 
Northcliffe at Versailles late in die afternoon of March 16, ipo8: Gone 
through as we wanted. It was the end of the struggle for The Times. North- 
cliffe had won. It would prove to be a Pyrrhic vjctory. 

The purchase price for the copyright of the newspaper and its allied 
publications was sanctioned by the judge at ^320,000. To enable Bell to 
pay the full amount into court if required, NorthcUfFc placed cash to that 
value at the Bank of England in Bell’s name. It was a superb gesture of 
confidence in Bell. ‘I could go down with a sack, draw all that money out, 
and bolt with it,’ he told Kitchin. His 6ce glowing, he paid his tribute 
to Northcliffe: ‘A splendid fellow! He insisted on depositing the money 
in my sole name.’ Northcliffe afterwards explained that action. ‘I wanted 
to show old Bell that I, at any rate, believed in him. He had made all 
sorts of conditions for The Times and for die staff, yet made no condition 
for himself. So I decided to hand die purchase money over to him. It was 
the least that I could do.’ He told his solicitor, William Graham; ‘Moberly 
Bell could easily have got the coital elsewhere.’ When the deed was 
signed, Bell tematked to Northcliffe: ‘I don’t know how you will make it 
succeed, but I am sure you will.’ 

Northcliffe told his mother; ‘idth March, 1908. — I could not wire you 
diat I have been successful in the matter that has engaged me so long and 
kept me abroad so much, as the Post Office is the sure way of reveal- 
ing secrets; but I have just received a telegram saying so. I shall try to 
mSce my work worthy of you, my dear, but it is a secret' Adelaide of 
Demerara (Hooper and Jackson) to Adantic (Northcliffe): ‘Mondayev«i- 
ing, March id, 1908. — Not only the Brimh public, but all friends of 
Great Britain will some day know what a great good you have done for 
the nation.’ Arthur Walter ivrote to Bell diat same dav; ‘Your telegram 
caused me great relief. I trust we shall have peace now.* Lady Northcliffe 
to Sutton; ‘Tuesday [undated}. — Hooray! I am glad — and I know you are 

too glad that the strain is over, Tbe Chief has been a perfect brick and 

Wne ^le saxpemt 'KWiiisOiliy. V. has. bes!. dswiif’di’f iTf/ag 5 m bAm 
being exiled while the fight was going on. It is so riglit that he should 
have this thing— be is the only person in the world who could run it!’ 

Bell’s desk was piled %vith telegrams and letters of appreciation and 
congratulations from The Times wdl-wishcrs at home and abroad. To 
some of them he was the St. George of Fleet Street and Pearson the 


3*9 



NORTHCUFFE 


Rufiis Isaacs was importuning him again on bclialf of his sbter: ‘She 
is very anxious to do some echtorial work for you.’ The vicar of Sc. 
Saviour’s Poplar, to whose yearly stipend Norihchlfe contributed 
inquired when he might expect die next instalment. Robert Donald, 
editor of the Daily Chronkle, apol^ized for publishing comments on 
the peerage, about which Northclifie had complained. There was cor- 
respondence to be dealt with regarding the possibilities of die sands at 
Skegness as a scene of aeroplane trials. Gaston Mayer, director of the 
Theatre Fran^aisc at the New Royalty Theatre, London, regretted that his 
experiment there had failed, in spite of ‘your lordship’s personal and 
generous support’, which cost Notthcliffc several hundred pounds. Frank 
Millar, Glcndowcr, Chiswick Lane, London, W., allegca anti-Catholic 
bias in the Children's Encyeloptedia. Ford, the IGlbum printer of the Henley 
House School Magazine, was in dire dhtress and begging for help. L. ]• 
Maxse, editor of the National Ret'iVii', deplored Northeuffe’s absence from 
the country ‘as a real national calamity’, at a time when the First I^rd of 
the Admiralty, Tweedmouth, was obsequiously corresponding with the 
Kaiser about the Royal Navy. ‘It is the greatest outrage that has happened 
in our time, I did not know where to communicate with you and fd* 
quite helpless.’ 

Notthcliffc to his mother: 


Versailles. 

14th March, 1908. 

Darling Mumlo, — V/e are still continuinc our vagabondage and at present are 
at the Hotel dcs Roervoirs, where you and I lunched and where I should very 
much like to stay with you some time this year. 1 can imagine nothing more 
happy than that we two should be wandering 3lx>ut the Park and Palace. 

Exactly when we shall return depends upon events svith which I shall 
acquaint you and of which you know the purport. So far those affairs go well, 
though there have been, already, tumours of indircrcct talk on the part of the 
members of our family — who certainly foiou' nothing. The very appearance qt 
your firstborn on the scene in a struggle of this kind brings in others. ‘What u 
good enough for Lord N.,' they say, ‘is good enough for us.’ 

Wc may move away from here on Tuesday. All depends on events as 1 have 
said. Wc arc most anxious that if the thing is accomplished it shall not be knosvn 
for several yean, until wc have had time to dcnionstrxtc that wc arc not so 
erratic as our enemies suppose. 

1 hope all is well at Poynrers. I shall be very glad when I am able to relinquish 
the life of an exile. 

Your devoted 
HRSTBORN 


Bell had himself taken the draft sale contract to Versailles for North- 
31 * 



Lady Northcliffe, after the portrait by Philip de Laszio, 191 




NORTHCUITE 

vanquished dragon. The messages gave no hint that any of them realized 
that Northcliffe was the new force behind die paper. Soon after the com- 
pletion of the purchase, Bell wrote to Lady Northcliffe asking her accept- 
ance of a souvenir, ‘as a token of gratitude I shall always feel to your 
husband for his whole action towards an institution with which I have 
been so long associated that I regard it as a part of myself!’ 'niere were 
others in the office who were grateful to Northcliffe, Bell testified, evm 
without knowing his name, for the consideration he has shown through- 
out this period of transition’. The secret was so well kept that Admiral Sir 
John Fisher wrote to him from the Admiralty on July 23, in the course 0 
a letter referring to ‘this entrancing new vista of wireless in sea war , 
making tlie suggestion; ‘Why don’t you buy The Times and make Garvm 
editor? That would be Napoleonic in conception and Cromwel^ ut 
thoroughness! Pearson came to see me when he thought he had it, but 
he was neither Napoleon nor Cromwell, but only a babbler ! 

During one of their many talks about the paper. Bell had shown Nmm- 
cliffe the small notebook in which for years he had kept a record of the 
daily circulation. He told the new chief proprietor: ‘We are suffering from 
lack of abuse. Other p«ers used to attack us with every sort of accusation 
—financial trickery, of being in the pockets of the politicians, of scndii^ 
coach-loads of unsold copies of The Times to Brighton and dumping 
them in the sea, so that we could say that we sold more papers than any 
other London paper. There were penonal reflections on the character 01 
John Walter. One rival actually referred to us as “the bloody old T«m« • 
Northcliffe said: ‘Don’t worry about a lack of abuse, Mr Bell. Whm f 
reveal my identity as controller of The Times you will get all the abuse 
you want.’ , 

Early one morning, shortly after the signirig of the contract, the head 
prmter at Carmelite House, Tom George, was shaken out of his sleep at 
his Dulwich villa by his wife with the nevvs that a cab %vas at the door. 
‘They want you at the office.’ He arrived there at nine o’clock. Notth- 
clilfc, his brothers Harold and Cecil, with Kennedy Jones and Sutton, 
were standing together at one end of Room One. ‘K.J.’ was the spokeS" 
man. ‘You know Parbury,’ be said, referring to Peanon’s mechanics 
expert who had been installed at Printing House Square. ‘Go across and 
tell him to put his jacket on.’ George went to the Times office and 
refused admittance on saying that he had come from Lord Northcliffe* 
‘Don’t know anything about Lord Northcliffe,’ the hall porter said. 
George asked for Parbury’s room. ‘What are you doing here, Tom?^ 
Parbury asked him when he was shown in. ‘We’ve bought The Times, ^ 
George told him. ‘I’ve been sent to tell you to put on your jacket.^ 
Parbury refused to believe him. 'Don’t be silly — oiir guv’nor s bought it! 
Pearson’s man had to make way for John Bland, an old Stamford School 


320 



PRINTING HOUSE SQUARE 

boy wbo had become an expert printii^ engineer. Before long he was 
ordered to throw out much of the antiquated machinery at Printing 
House Square and authorized to spend ^ddo.ooo on giant new Goss 
presses and the latest Monotype composing machines. 

Moberly Bell received a letter from an old colleague who had gone over 
to Pearson’s Standard. Congratulating Bdl on the success of the negotia- 
tions, his correspondent told him (March 19, 1908): ‘Though it would 
undoubtedly have been to my benefit had the Pearson arrangement come 
offl I heartily rejoice that it fell through. I feel confident that neither you 
nor Messrs. Walter have any conception of what The Times has escaped. 
I have, for all the chickens had already been carefully counted and meir 
various roles in life — with the accompanying emolument — duly appor- 
tioned. A reign of splendid incompetence and nepotism, parsimony and 
prodigality, would have been inaugurated in Printing House Square. 
There would have been a little colony of poor relations absorbing fat 
salaries and domg God knows what in return.’ The writer begged to be 
acquitted of malice or ulterior moticc. ‘A few years spent in the Tintes 
office has a peculiar cfTect— it engenders a spirit oCje ne sais quot which 
cannot be sh^en ofiT, I left my heart in Printing House Square—not with 
penons, but with the undying institution/ 

The Times had informed the world on March 17: ‘There will be no 
change whatever in the political or editorial direction of the paper, which 
will be conducted by me same suff on the independent fines pursued 
uninterruptedly for so many years.* Valentine Chirol, head of the Times 
foreign department, to Moberly BeU: ‘Many thanks for vour very in- 
teresting and reassuring letter of March ij. What you tell me about X 
[NotthclifFc] reminds me of what St- Loc Strachey said of him to me: “I 
hate his methods but there is something very big about him. He seems to 
me to be cast in much tljc same roetal as Cecil Rhodes, whose methods 
were often equally repugnant, but whom everyone admits to have been a 
big man." ’ NortnchSc to G. E, Buckle, editor of The Times (undated): 
'You have gone through a very nerve-racking time and if you and Mr Bell 
did not possess the constitution of giants, you would have both broken 
down.’ If his weight statistics were an index, NotthclifFc himself had 
thrived on the tensions and excitement of buying The Times. That year he 
reached his highest recorded maximum, fourteen stones. ‘Exact’, he wrote 
in his weight booL ‘Horrible.’ 

Norihchffe to Courts’ Bank, April 7, 1908: *My brother Harold tells 
me that it will be necessary to charge my securities for the purpose of the 
purchase of The Times. 1 hereby audiotizc you to charge part of my 
slocks and shares as your security for the loan. I trould point out that 
these stocks and shares are worth at least A. message from 

General Stcrhng, who had been the largest single holder of shares in The 
321 M 




(Lf/t) NortVichfFc in Scotland with George Sutton and {right) with Kennedy J< 



PMNTING HOtJSE SQUAM 

He and his brother Godfrey were changed men away from Printing House 
Square. They would ask memhen of^die staff to join them in weekend 
cricket games at their country homes, where they were kindly and com- 
panionable hosts. Meeting the same staff people the following Monday in 
the Times corridors, they would pass by with chin-high aloofness. 

Nordicliffe did not go down to Printing House Square in the first 
months of his authority there. He gave a dinner, instead, for the purpose 
of meeting senior members of the various departments. Unm then, 
Moberly Bell was the only one of their number who had seen him. What 
conquests his personality made on that occasion were not a subject of 
record. Not ^ the officers of the sinking ship persisted in deploring 
Northcliffe as coxswain of the lifeboat because he had not been to Oxford. 
The official lustory tells us that ‘he looked as if his thoughts were far 
away’. After his victory over Pearson, he had shown few signs of elation 
at having secured control of the paper. Reclaiming its circulation from the 
38,000 mark to which it had fallen meant new burdens of work and 
worry, the latter increased by weakening eyesight. His oculist prescribed 
dark glasses. Northcliffe wore them indoors and out, fearing the fate of 
total blindness that had befallen Pulitzer of New York. He had always 
read himself to sleep. Now, to spare his eyes, he had someone to read 
to him in bed, a practice condnuM to Ac end of his days. It might not 
be unfair to say that, on Ae whole, his pleasure in that proccedhig was 
greater than Aat of Aose deputed to read to him. By no means all his 
bcAide servitors were enthralled by Dickens. 

There were weekends of lively social occasion at Sutton Place Aat 
spring. John O’Connor, Nationalist M.P., Lady Betty Balfour, Austen 
Chamberlain, Reginald McKenna, M. Dclcassi, ex-Foreign Minister of 
France, Alfred Lyttelton and Jan Paderewski arc named in me diary, while 
Cecil HatmsworA was noting; ‘Sutton Place, Sunday, May xo, 1908. — 
Alfred and I birds -nesting in Ae morning. Sheets of lovely narcissi out 
on Ae terrace lawn.’ Up in ManAester, NorAcUffe’s local parmcr in Ae 
CoHfier, A. F. Stephenson, Ae SouAport newspaper proprietor, wrote in 
a letter (May ii); ‘How Churchill docs hate Ae Chiefl’ 

Northcliffe to Winston ChurdiiU: 


22, St. James’s Place, 

S.W. 

iiA May, 190S. 

My dear Churchill, — I was amazed to hearftom Mrs Garvin Aat she had heard 
from her husband Aat you considered our criticisms a penonal matter. 

There was a well understood agreement between us that we should use our 
stage thunder in the furAerance of our mutual interests. 

As we have got to bve together more or less in public life in more ways than 

323 



NORTIICllFFE 


Times after the Walter brothcn, congratulated NorthclifFc on the ‘straight- 
forward and generous manner in which lie had carried out the transaction 
(April 13). Northcliife to General Sterling: ‘Paris, Easter Sunday.— It is 
pleasing to me to think that I was able to assist Mr Bell in keeping The 
Times in the hands of the English people.* Arthur Walter, writing on 
April 14 after ‘a long spell of trouble and anxiety’, wished NorthclifFc to 
know that he had been throughout ‘very sensible of the generous manner 
in which you have acted both towards the Proprietors and myself’. 

Insisting that he must have a holiday from the affairs of Fleet Street and 
the world, after the recent weeks of siupense, Lady NorthclifFc persuaded 
Northcliife to go with her to Seville. J. L. Garvin and his iviie, Charles 
Whiblcy, and Owen Seaman, editor of Punch, went with them, wi& 
Evelyn Wrench acting as NorthcItlFc’s secretary and Lady NorthclifFe s 
chamberlain of the household. NorthcUHe enjoyed the colourful Spanish 
scene, especially after the monotony ofhis days at Boulogne, but his mind 
constantly ran on The Times affairs. Wrench walked with him for two 
hours near the Moorish ruins of Alcala, ten miles from Seville. ‘He opened 
his heart and discussed his problems and the difficulty of finding his 
“generaU" for various undertakings, among them The Times’ More con- 
sequential for Wrench was their exchange of views, during the same walk, 
about his plan for starting the Overseas League, ‘a great non-partv society 
to promote the unity of the British Commonwealth’. NorthclifFc was 
‘much interested’. He promised Wrench the free and full use of the 
Overseas Daily Mall for promoting the idea. 

He returned to London in May to study developments in Printing 
House Square and, where possible, to initiate them. Brumwell, one of 
Buckle's best sub-editors, was told to ‘stand over the printer* every night 
and supervise the make-up of the paper. It was the end of the long 
dominance of the printer over that fimetion. NorthclifFe’s personal policy 
was one of watchful discretion. He had deputed Kennedy Jones to 
organize the practical side of the chai^eover and 'K.J.’ had dropped his 
I’m-telling-you mode of approach, and, surprisingly, was winning 
friends and mfluencdng people at The Times by his tact, while impressing 
them no less by his efficiency in dealing with make-up congestion and 
case-room delays. At Carmchte House, 'K.J.’ usually wore the short bbek 
jacket and striped trousers ofa City man. Visiting Printing House Square, 
he thought it more seemly to put on a heavily braided tail-coat. He gained 
the confidence of Arthur Walter, who told him with tears in his eyes that 
he had never expected to inherit the frmily responsibility of controlling 
The Times. It had come to him by the accident of his elder brother s 
mowning on the family estate in Berkshire. Dramatically, he had found 
mmself called to aposition for which he had neither training nor taste. His 
heart was in the life of the countryride, in ‘the Volunteers’, and in cricket. 


323 



NOBTIICUFFE 


you know, for, I hope, a great many years, I propose that we take a walk in 
St. James’s Park some morning this week and thrash the matter out. 

You have criticised me very hody in and out of Parliament and I have never 
felt the least put out about it, as you must have seen by our recent meeting at 
Lord Lansdowne’s. 

Yours sincerely, 

NORTHCLIFFE. 

A writ for libel against the Maufiester Courier had been issued on 
Churchill’s behalf. NotthcUffc wrote to him again on May 13, disclaii^g 
any knowledge of the circumstances. ‘I am advised, and indeed consider, 
that any endeavour to cormcct me with something over which I have no 
control, which took place when I was absent from England, and in a 
matter in which I am only one and not by any means the largest sh«c- 
bolder, would be an act of grave injustice, and I shall personally considtr 
it an act of hostility.’ He had heard it hinted, he went on to say, that 
‘some mutual friend has suggested I have at some time experienced some 
doubts of you’, and he asked Churchill ‘to bring that friend forsvard, as 
I should like to confront him’. There was no warranty for such a beuef. 
'I do trust that in future you will neither deduce from nor^attach im- 
portance to rumour or listen to the words of busybodies.’ Churdull 
answered the next day with the hope ‘that our personal relations svill be all 
the better for the misunderstanding which you have so completely re- 
moved from my mind’. 

Northcliffe’s aimoyance at the Daily Mail criticism of Churchill was 
shared by Lady Normcliffe, whose sodal circle included many friends of 
the Churchill family. Marlowe, as the responsible editor, wrote on May 15 ^ 
'My dear Chief,— I am extremely sorry that you should have had so 
much trouble— and especially grieved that Lady NorthclifFe should have 
suffered annoyance on my account.’ Shortly afterwards, Northcliffc to 
Churchill: ‘I am delighted to think that the only cause of friction between 
us has been cleared away. My feelings towards you have always been of 
admiration and esteem, and I shall look forward to a long if somewhat 
critical friendship.’ 

He was intensely interested in the news coming from Kill Devil H^s, 
North Carolina, where the Wright brothers, the cycle-repair mechanic, 
on December 17, 1903, had flovm thrir heavier-than-air machine a dis- 
tance of eighty hundred and fifty-two feet against a twenty-miles-an-hour 
wind. That accomplishment had been followed in 1904 by a circular 
flight, an event in itself, and then by a straight-line flight of three miles. 
In May 1908 NordiclifTe asked for private reports to be sent to him by the 
Daily Mail New York man, W. F. Bullock, who was ordered to watch 
developments. His reports lipt NorthclifFe dosely informed and North- 
clifFe in turn passed on much of the information to the Daily Mail, whose 

32^ 



NORTHCLIFFE 


arch-coiispirator against the peace. One of them, the American Professor 
S. B. Fay, in The Ori^iiw oj rfic fVorU fVar, a frequently reissued book 
from 1928 onward, blamed him for anti-German reporting in The Times 
eleven years before he acquired control at Printing House Square. Even his 
old Paris colleague, Sir Norman Angcll, could believe that as a nesvspapcr 
proprietor NonhelifFe had a vested interest in war. In The Press and the 
Organization of Society (1933), Angell wrote: ‘Arc we to assume that the 
Harmsworths rampaged for the Transvaal because they owned South 
African mines? There is a much simpler explanation. The gold mine of 
Lord Northcliffc was nearer home. It was in the expanded circulation of 
the Dji 7 y Mail and the Evening News.’ But NorthcliiFc insisted that wars 
are not uvourable to newspapers. Circulations fluctuated, advertising was 
uncertain, staffs were overworked, paper supplies jeopardized. Increasing 
costs and currency problems added to the diffiadties. No newspaper pro- 
prietor in his senses had reason to suppose that he, above all others, would 
emerge unscathed from what then threatened to be the greatest human 
struggle ever known. Ccnainly Northcliffc did not believe that when the 
final clash came it would be anything but a most destructive business, 
rending the civilized world apart. More than most of his fellow country- 
men, he had reason to dread the imponderable power of the warrior state 
that was rising up in Europe. His special sources of information all too 
clearly confirmed the reality of the German preparations, whatever the 
lomcal force behind them, tlut an cne^y was being generated in Germany 
which she could not contain. She aimed at transcending the historic 
balance in Europe by a reorganization which would give her thehegemony 
of more than a continent. By 1908 the German lust for power and place 
w« becoming a world danger. For drawing attention to that fact North- 
^ffe was condemned from the Liberal side of the House of Commons as 
a footpad of politics and an enemy of the human race’. When, four years 
earlier, he had committed his Daily Afail to the principle of compulsory 
service — 'defence, not deference’ was his slogan — threatening and abusive 
letters poured into the office, most of them addressed to him personally. 
The paper continued to point out that the rise of great armies on the 
Continent brought urgent new problems into British life and politics. • 

War is a horrible and dreadful thing for everybody, and the only way for 
EngUnd not to have war with Germany is for England to get ready. Never 
mind the English people who say there is no danger of Prussia precipitating 
wmany upon us. There is danger. And every Englishman who lives in 
Germany knows that there is danger. (DtfiIyM<Ji 7 ,Ju!y rj. 1906.} 

All the fine words in the sv'otid cannot disguise the fact that the naval com- 
petition between England and Germany h intense, and that Germany is now 

326 



PRINTING HOUSE SQUARE 

building a great fleet with the express olyect of meeting the Brimh Navy at 
sea. (Daily Mail, April 24. 1907.) 

Northcliffe’s appointment of Frederick William Wile as Berlin corre- 
spondent of the Daily Mail was a prescient act, for Wile was an American 
newspaperman (Chiea^o Daily Netvs) of experience and resource whose 
nationality would be an asset when war came and whose reporting in 
what remained of the peace was marked by vigilance and accuracy. The 
British Embassy, yearning for a quiet life, hinted that it would welcome 
his transfer to some other capita. The German authorities pressed for 
his removal. NorthcUffe paid no heed. He had no doubt of the surencss of 
his judgment in choosing Wile for the Berlin listening-post and stoutly 
maintained him in it. 

His private information service from Central Europe svas valuably 
augmented by Tlic Times, with its uniquely authoriutivc sources of news 
and opinion. The Times had been condemned by the Kaiser in 1905, a 
year in which the British Fleet had appeared in the Baltic, as the great 
mischief-maker between the two countries and he had spoken of its 
Berlin correspondent, George Saunders, as 'a first-class ssvinc'. Winston 
Churchill, in May 190^, addressing a gathering of German editors at the 
offices of the Liberal Daily Neii's, svamed dtem against 'the patriotic Press 
on both sides of the Nortli Sea*. Haldane had personally met memben 
of the Times editorial suff that same month with a wevv to persuadbe 
them to modify their anti-German sentiments. According to hicfi 
German report, he had found ihcnt incorrigible. The attitude of The 
Times,’ states the official history, *as perhaps that of the Germans, \va5 
hardening under the pressure ofdcs'efopmcnts svhich were rendered all 
the more menacing by the increasing wdght of the armaments which 
backed the respective policies of the Great Powers.* The pawr’s attitude 
HIS not likely (o be re-east under Nonhdiflfe. Harcourt lOtcnin, the new 
assistant manager, recorded * 
unrestricted control unless 
the coming German peril. I 
to Notthclific on July 17, 19 
amount of information is collected by foreign officers here, especially 
Germans, but they do it when they are on leave and not under any 
commission. I am going not $0 roocn on an affirmative proof but rather 
by the knowledge of what cur own officers do uhen uicy arc abroad. 
Like sounelf. I mve not any notion of bosv ro stop it.’ 

Paocfesvski. the Polish musidan-sutesniin, told of an evening in »po8 
when be was dining in London with Lord Charles Beresford. NorthdifTc 
and one or two others. Paderes\*sks uid; *A war, t think, is in store for you 
in a few years.’ Me was asVed: ‘^^^lat wart' ’With the Germam*, he 


that Northclme said; i shall leave the editor 
be should fail to warn the British people of 
insist on that duty bdne discharged.' Haldane 
oS: ‘I have not the least doubt that an enormous 


127 



NORTHCUFFB 


answered. Northclific commented: *You are undoubtedly right. They are 
already preparing for it. though no one believes it.’ 

Admiral Sir John Fisher to Nordiclifie from Tarasp, Switzerland: 

Private & Confidential. 29.8.08. 

Dear Lord NorthclifFe, — ^You can rely on enclosed, but please don’t make it 
public. We spend a lot on Secret Service and I am sure of my information. 
Nevertheless, it would be simply madness of the Germans to make svar on 
England. However, Lord Salisbury once said to me when Prime Minister: 
One never can tell what some great gust of popular passion may not sweep a 
nation into doing in the shape of some act of madness.’ 

I am 3d miles from the nearest railway and 1,000 miles [sic.] from the Ad* 
miralty and no motors allowed by the Government and only cart horses, so it 
took me 7 hours on a level road to get here from the station, but I am 4,000 feet 
above the sea, the thermometer 70 in the shade, the air dclidous, a rushing 
snow river under my window and everlasting sun and blue sky since I arrived 
a week ago— so I am in paradise! 

Yours very truly, 

J. A. FISHER 

Northcliffe complained of overwork that summer to his brother 
Harold. ‘There have been only three days in the last 365 when I have 
not worked and mostly all day long, from 7.30 in the morning.’ He 
wrote to Lord Selby: ‘On Friday, Lady Northcliffe and I went to a 
little house we have by the sea to get away from worries. On Saturday, 
were began a shower of telegrams and telephone messages.’ They came 
from Imre Kiralfy, organizer of the Franco-Brirish Exhibition which was 
being held at the White City, London. The whole of my weekend was 
devoted to trying to undentand the general muddle at the Exhibition.’ It 
seemed to him, he wrote to Harold, that ‘the business is getting out of 
hand , and was it a fact that new papers were being started at the Amal- 
gamated Press svithout his knowledge? ‘After all, I am the chairman.’ 
Leicester svrote to him: ‘I am glad to learn that you are at last realizing 
mat you cannot do everything. Your latest responsibility is alone sufficient 
for any man.’ 

His latest responsibility was answering well to his hand at the wheel. 
Buckle, the editor, who had mistrusted him, had written an 

amicable letter on June 23: 

Thank you very sincerely for your kind appredarion. ... In the last few 
^ears circumstances have naturally weighed our spirits down; but the new 
wangemena and your vigorous pcrvmality have infused hopefulness and 
buo^n^ into us ailL It has been, if I may say $0, a matter of very special 
satisfaction to me to find that the things vdiich I care most about in tnc Paper 
arc highly valued by you; and I fiiDy realize the great advantage of most of the 

328 



NORTHCLIFFE 


when Buckle read the letter, he wrote to NorthclifFe: ‘As a considered 
statement of your views widi regard to The Times it is, of course, an 
historical document of permanent importance. I hope’, he added, that 
Esher understands how desirable it is for die present that he and his 
illustrious friend should not spread dieir knowledge abroad’, a reference 
to the King’s interest in the change of ownership and what it might 
portend. The Times history implies that the monarch’s interest inspired 
NorthclifFe’s declaration to Esher. In fact, the tone of his dealings wiA 
Bell, from the beginning, was that of a sensitive regard for the paper s 
traditions and standing, if hardly for its management. Bell had been 
gratified when, early in the negotiations, NorthclifFe had let him know 
that he wished to sec the paper conducted in the future as it had been in 
its best years. It was more than a move in the game. It was a genuine 
sentiment. That he should give it testamentary significance meant no 
startling change of mind on his part. 

The accountant, E. Layton Bennett, whom he had employed from the 
Answers days, reported to him after an inspection of the boo« at Printing 
House Square: ‘Our friends’ ideas of bookkeeping are of an exceedingly 
vague character.’ Northcliffc to Layton Bennett: ‘I hope you have been 
tactful m your inquiries, as no one likes the intrusion of newcomers. You 
would not yourself if you had been established in business for 120 years. 
We want tne Printing House Square people to get to like us.’ He was 
exerting his social and personal clutm to that end, while remaining the 
unobtrusive new controller. He proposed longer holidays to Bell and 
Buckle— ‘two months, at least’ — and other senior members of the staff. 
He asked them to lunch with him privately at St. James’s Place. There 
were weekends at Sutton Place. Their wives received courtesies never 
shown them by the old proprietors. Mrs Moberly Bell to NorthclifFe 
(September 29, 190S): ‘We enjoyed our weekend immensely and I can 
never explain to you what a dimrent